Louise Burfitt-Dons is a Conservative Party Activist on the Candidates’ List. To learn more about her initiatives visit www.louiseburfittdons.com
There is universal agreement between all disparate strands of feminism, of which there are many, that men and women are equal. If you stick to that premise, you’ll concur. So why are conservative women so reluctant to call themselves feminists?
If you take the sexual element out of the gender debate (and few women truly buy into the belief that men and women are biologically and emotionally identical), and also blot out the aggressive, banner-waving protestor image, you’re left with the political bit. As well as being a bit loutish, many regard the women’s movement as a passé socialist cause.
Not at all, say I. To speak of feminism today as a left-wing issue is pretty far off the mark. In fact, neo-liberal reforms have gone much further with regard to women than any suffragette or bra burner could ever have dreamed of. Unwittingly, and annoyingly for the likes of Harriet Harman, the once Marxist-style female movement has led to a sort of experiment in extreme capitalism. What radical feminist groups have pushed for so rigorously, and in many ways succeeded at, is creating massive wealth and social distortion between women themselves.
Those who are well-educated, talented, and attractive are now probably as much as 80 per cent ahead of the rest. And the gulf between the two groups is widening fast. Of course it was never meant to end up that way. But wealth begets wealth, and beauty begets power exponentially. So much so that, in contrast with the common bonds and established order of fifty years ago, elitist women now have far more in common with their male counterparts than they do with other females.
Had feminism been purely a left-wing success, the emancipation of women should have inspired a generation who cared nought for lipstick or curtains but much for sisterly compassion and equality. Instead, it stirred up things in stark reverse. As modesty became outmoded and undervalued, and flirtation was replaced by hard business bargaining, ugly practices such as cosmetic surgery have flourished. And with the spectacular rise in elitist women’s prospects, but not others, this trend is probably set to continue.
Of course not all are seduced by the rhetoric that boardroom equality alone fixes all social ills. These women (and their male counterparts) are the middle ground. So who is this set most likely to back at the polls in the next election? Will they veer left or right? The high earners will most likely vote Tory for low tax. What about the others?
Even in countries like sexually liberated Sweden, despite years of social engineering, 90 per cent of women still work in traditionally female industries. These may not be highly paid or glamorous, but, as they see it, a stint on a hospital ward or in a day care canteen is infinitely preferable to a couple of hours fitting a Sky aerial on a roof in January, or driving a truck out of Stockholm.
So in addition to “any job going with enough hours to pay the bills”: these women, just like so many in the UK, want much the same things as they always did: a home and a family. We’ve covered the equal work, pay, and legal rights which saw the female vote shift sharp to the left in the past. A clear message to this group of how the Tories can deliver long-term the basic needs of affordable food, education and healthcare is vital to GOTV in 2015.
Louise Burfitt-Dons is a Conservative Party Activist on the Candidate’s List. She writes the blog the Right Wing Feminist Learn more of her initiatives visit www.louiseburfittdons.com and follow her on Twitter.