Women, the family and contemporary Conservative party politics: from Thatcher to Cameron
This commentary reflects on the continuing tension between the family and women within contemporary Conservative politics. It considers the more inclusive definition of the family by the Cameroonian Conservative party and contrasts this with the depiction of some families as ‘broken’. This acknowledges that liberal feminism has undoubtedly triumphed in society and contends that the Conservative party in the 2000s had to ‘catch up’ with the Labour party’s feminization of politics, both in terms of the number of women MPs and in addressing women’s issues. In respect of the latter the Tory 2010 manifesto was notably competitive. However, gender relations remain problematic for the party, especially when women’s roles and rights are considered against the backdrop of the family. Here the party leadership frequently relies on the concept of ‘choice’. Yet feminist critics will question the ‘reality’ of women’s choices in an era of austerity politics.
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