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Monday, March 28, 2005


The radical sex?

I recall a few years ago the feminist writer Bea Campbell taking part in a discussion on BBC2's Newsnight and casually referring to women as "the radical sex".

Despite this claim, at each general election, a higher proportion of women than men vote Conservative.

ICM survey of women aged over 55, commissioned by Age Concern and the Fawcett Society and published last week, produced vote shares of Conservative 42%, Labour 29% and Lib Dem 21%. This 13% Tory lead has been attributed to concerns about pensions and, more generally, the political neglect and alienation that older women feel.

Yet a rush to the Tories by older women seems an irrational response to concerns about pensions, when you consider that it was the Tories who were responsible for the pension mis-selling scandal of the 1980s and who cut the link between state pensions and earnings, and who are now the party most likely to slash public spending.

Just in case anyone thinks this conservatism is a generational issue, bear in mind that Germaine Greer's Female Eunuch was published in 1970, when today's 55-year old woman was just 20 and today's 80-year old only 45.

Go figure.

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