The Conservatives and women - a week-long series on ConHome
By Paul Goodman
Follow Paul on Twitter.
Margaret Thatcher understood the importance of the women's vote and this newspaper advert was produced under her leadership.
Tim Montgomerie writes in today's Times (£) that David Cameron and Nick Clegg's joint appearance today will presage "childcare initiatives, a single-tier state pension and help for elderly people to afford long-term care. Women will be the biggest beneficiaries of this programme — the 50 per cent of the population who just happen to be least impressed with what the coalition has achieved so far". So this is not a bad day in which to launch a week-long ConservativeHome series on the Conservatives and women - with a stress on winning votes.
Such a series will provoke at least as many questions as it answers. Women are sometimes bracketed by the Left alongside ethnic minorities or gay people. But does it really make sense to consider half the population in this way? Indeed, how much sense does it make to talk of "women's issues" at all? Are there "men's issues"? Should childcare, for example - which Elizabeth Truss, the Education Minister, will consider on this site tomorrow - be considered a women's issue alone, and if so why?
So no wonder Cameron is having a big female-friendly push - as he sees it - this week on childcare, pensions, the NHS and long-term care. There is a lot at stake for the man who told a Labour front-bencher to "calm down, dear" and sacked two women Conservative Cabinet Ministers last year - but who wants a third of Tory Ministers to be women by 2015, and has more women in his inner circle (Gaby Bertin, Kate Fall, Liz Sugg) than is sometimes appreciated. Charlotte Vere opens the series today. Ruth Lea will also be writing - as will Maria Miller, the Women's Minister.