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What women want (when it comes to politics, that is)

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Parliament and Big Ben  © Alan Cleaver/flickr - What women want (when it comes to politics, that is)
Parliament and Big Ben © Alan Cleaver/flickr
With just three weeks to go until the general election, the outcome is still anybody’s guess. In the most recent YouGov poll, the Conservatives’ lead had narrowed to six points, and a significant number of voters are still undecided – many say it still isn’t clear to them what the parties stand for.

So we decided to take a look at what the parties are saying about issues that matter to women.

Politics, in so many ways, still feels like a man’s game. But if their faces aren’t widely represented, and their voices not widely heard, that doesn’t mean women aren’t paying attention – and getting involved.

“In Britain women are less interested in the partisan politics. They’re less interested in the ‘sport’ aspect,” says Dr. Rosie Campbell, a senior lecturer at the University of London and an expert on British politics and voting behaviour. But, she clarifies, that doesn’t mean they’re not interested in the issues.

A lot of it depends on how the question is asked. “If you say to people, ‘are you interested in politics?’ women say no in much greater numbers than men do,” Campbell says. “If you ask how likely they are to read about domestic issues like healthcare and education, women are more likely than men.” Men are more likely to read about partisan politics and international affairs.

In recent years, though, that gap has been narrowing. Part of it may have to do with the increasing number of female politicians, Campbell says. “As more women are involved, they can relate more.”

In wewomen’s own highly unscientific survey, women confirmed this. Asked whether traditional women’s issues have a significant impact on the way they vote, 72 percent said they seriously consider a party’s position on getting more women into leadership positions.


Samantha Fields
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