Charlotte Vere is the Executive Director of the Girls’ Schools Association. She is also the Founder of Women On, a campaign group for women in the economy, and was formerly the Finance Director of No2AV. She was the Conservative PPC in Brighton Pavilion in 2010. Follow Charlotte on Twitter.
This is the first contribution to a week long ConservativeHome series on women.
If you are brave enough to dip your toe into the debate around women, the expectation is that you will fall into one of two camps: the pro-quota, pro-positive discrimination proponents, driven by radical feminists and the ‘equalities industry’, or 1950s-rooted traditionalists warning of imminent social destruction should mums go out to work. Both are misguided.
To make any headway in gaining the trust of women, the Conservatives need to offer something new. They need to rethink the issue entirely, by starting with a Miliband-style blank piece of paper and drawing up a long-term strategy to reconnect. Contrary to the intransigent beliefs of some, it is possible to construct a strong Conservative message based on core values of choice, responsibility and self-reliance which chimes with women. A pragmatic message rooted in economic resilience and social success, which resonates with the country we live in today, rather than harking back to the country of yore.