Published, NY TImes: March 8, 1987
To the Editor:
''Women have not played a significant role in a major scandal in recent years,'' Lois and Heather Evans say of insider trading collusion (Op-Ed, Feb. 21). However, they take the position that it is primarily the lack of access to locker room interaction on Wall Street, as well as a requirement by men that women in business be nonaggressive and modest, that explains the apparent lack of corruption among businesswomen.
An article by Bella Abzug and Mim Keller (Op-Ed, Dec. 20) notes the lack of women involved in the Iran-contra arms scandal and other current examples of corrupt political behavior by the ''white male power elite.'' In this case, the authors describe but do not offer possible explanations.
Would women be as corrupt, aggressive and exclusive as men if given the opportunity? I think not. I think the issue is one of social conditioning, heredity and phylogenetics. That is, men are unwilling or unable to give up a role, a way of behaving, that was once necessary. In a primitive world, men were required to be aggressive hunters and fighters to feed and protect their families. This is no longer true.
We are evolving into a cerebral species, with computers and machines to labor for us and protect us. The primitive, physical man is obsolete (so the great need for sports), but modern man has not adapted. So, he creates conflict with other men to maintain the need to fight and defend, and preserve his ancient role.
Women, on the other hand, have come of age in the 20th century. Their preference for negotiation over fighting, their abhorrence of violence, their inclination to compassion and their lack of inclination to locker-room corruption are not signs of weakness, but the qualities needed for leadership in the 21st century. Perhaps the best reason for women to move into positions of power, if we are to survive and progress, is that women don't have to prove they're men. PETER V. LOFFREDO New York, Feb. 21, 1987