Sex, gender and political representation in the Conservative Party
Press release issued: 18 November 2011
Sex, gender and political representation in the Conservative Party is the focus of a new book published today [18 November] exploring the modernisation of the Party under David Cameron's leadership.
Written by Sarah Childs, Professor of Politics and Gender at the University of Bristol and Professor Paul Webb at the University of Sussex, Sex, Gender and the Conservative Party: From Iron Lady to Kitten Heels offers a comprehensive gendered analysis of the contemporary UK Conservative Party.
Until now, academics have only rarely considered the role of feminisation in the modernisation of the conservative party under David Cameron. As leader of the party, Cameron inherited a multi-faceted gender problem: only 17 women MPs; an unhappy women's organisation; electorally uncompetitive policies 'for women'; and a party which was seemingly unattractive to women voters.
Based on findings from a three-year Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded project with contributions from MPs, Peers, party workers and members of the voluntary party, the book addresses the under-representation of women in the Tory party.
Drawing on extensive new empirical research to fill this gap, the book examines how the party sought to increase the number of Conservative women MPs and looks at the nature and role of the party's women's organisations. It also analyses how the party 'acted for women' in the 2005 Parliament, the nature of its electoral offer to women in 2010 and how party members and voters were likely to respond to the party's feminisation efforts.
Professor Sarah Childs, Professor of Politics and Gender, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies at the University of Bristol, said: “Sex, Gender and the Conservative Party set out to map, and make sense of, the gendered changes that we expected might take place as a consequence of the Conservative party’s efforts to modernise. Our analysis suggests that there is evidence to support the contention that the Conservative party under David Cameron’s leadership was more attractive to women in 2010 than it had been for some years.”
The book, written by Sarah Childs, Professor of Politics and Gender, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies at the University of Bristol and Paul Webb, Professor of Politics, Department of Politics and Contemporary European Studies at the University of Sussex, is published today [18 November] by Palgrave Macmillan.