It’s no secret that Labour commands more female support than the Conservatives. While the Tories won’t let us forget Thatcher, people seem to forget that Thatcher herself was not overly concerned with issues of gender equality. She praised family values and would much rather have seen women at home with children than a society of childcare and crèches.
Female support for the Conservatives is historically low. The line from Labour is that Cameron is pushing his “old boy’s network” way of doing things. He’s failed, they say, in helping women find childcare and addressing the ever-increasing gender pay gap.
According to the Guardian, Miliband is 26 points ahead with women. With little else to brag about Ed sought to remind Cameron of his success amongst womenat PMQs. If Miliband’s attack at Cameron over his unfortunate comment to a businesswoman of ‘Where’s your husband?’ sounds familiar it’s because this show in the Commons on Wednesday was mere replay of the ‘Calm Down Dear’ incident in 2011.
Initially it was thought that these attacks were merely a long-standing tool of the Labour party. If they can’t hit them over issues of policy why not attack them over the lack of female representation in the Conservative party? This was certainly not the day for Theresa May to be absent from the front bench.
However, Conservative party failings with women have become an ever more pressing issue. The lack of female Conservative MPs is shocking and whilst all women shortlists are not the solution, the issue needs to be addressed by both parties. Anne McIntosh, 17 year long MP for Thirsk and Malton has been deselected to stand for Conservatives in the next election due to local executivevoting misconduct.
The number of female Conservative MPs in the North is soon to become a mere 2. Another MP, Jessica Lee, has also announced she won’t be running in 2015 due to family issues. According to the BBC, 8per cent of female MPs of both Labour and the Conservatives are stepping down in 2015.
Unfortunately for Cameron, the Conservatives were already behind, showing promises of party modernisation to be all but a dream. The issues affecting women and thus affecting their choice at the polls are inherently linked to more pressing issues of social mobility, economic growth and unemployment. Cameron’s tax cut for 11 million women and the end to pensions being discriminated against women have only addressed the tip of the iceberg.
There remains a lack of opportunities for working class women that pushes them into welfare dependency. This is the reason why women vote Labour. As women are being more widely repressnted, policy will start to address female concerns of educational and economic opportunities, pay inequality and childcare provision.
It is through this that the Conservative party may win back the women they have lost in recent years.
In any case, Cameron shouldn’t worry too much … I’m sure Samantha will vote Tory.