Why are women so invisible in the elections?
There may be many differences of opinion in this election, but one thing many of the pundits are agreed on is the lack of women in what was laughably billed beforehand as the "Mumsnet" election. Although a major feature of the last few days of Gordon Brown’s electioneering has centred around potential cuts to family tax credits, the Child Trust Fund and Sure Start, there appears to have been an absolute dearth of women politicians saying anything at all and I have heard very little on issues like flexible working or equal pay, surely one of the key reasons women are still viewed as being the primary carers in their families, why they still end up seeing their careers sidelined and why men continue to miss out on family life. Far more than the supposed magic pill of marriage, surely these are issues that affect the balance of power in a couple and the long-term security of a relationship?
But what are the supposed "women’s issues" anyway? Is there such a thing and is it not patronising to assume all women are interested in the same things? Should the assumption be that that is all about education and childcare? Should men not also be interested in child tax credits and Sure Start?
I have spent much of the weekend talking about, thinking about or reading about the election and I am now feeling heartily fed up with it. The thing is that the media keeps talking about this being some form of revolutionary election which will change Britain for ever, but what if it doesn’t? What if we end up going backwards both socially and culturally? What if we don’t do much to tackle issues like poverty, the human impact of globalisation and climate change – the truly big issues that this election has also kind of dodged?
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