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Article in images

Decision time

 

 - Decision time
A UK polling station © secretlondon123/flickr
In soFeminine’s informal and highly unscientific survey, 82 percent of the women who responded said they definitely plan to vote in the upcoming election; 44 percent are undecided.

Those voters who have decided seem almost evenly split between the Conservatives (15.5 percent), the Liberal Democrats (14.4 percent) and Labor (13.4 percent). The Green Party lags far behind, with only 7 percent support.

The most recent numbers Campbell has seen put the percentage of undecided women at 18.5 percent, and the number of undecided men at 11 percent.

“A big part of that is that many feel they still don’t have a good feel for where the parties stand on the issues,” she says. “So it’s difficult, often, to really know where their clear differences are.”

More than 65 percent of those surveyed by soFeminine said they still feel they do not have enough information on the parties’ policies to make an informed decision.

They do, however, know what matters to them – the NHS, the economy, crime and justice, and energy and climate change top the list. In a year when the economy is, by nearly all accounts, the most significant issue facing the country, more women wrote that NHS policy would be a key factor in their decision come election day: 86 percent of those surveyed ranked the NHS as an important factor in deciding who to vote for, while 66 percent included the economy.

Women also indicated that they do take traditional women’s issues into serious consideration when evaluating parties and candidates. Ninety percent said a party’s policy on equal pay figures heavily into their decision; policies on violence against women and domestic violence factor in for almost as many. Also ranking high were parental leave and flexible working; equal representation and more women in leadership positions; and support of children and “the family” as an entity.

That many women voters are looking closely at what the parties have to say about children, family and the work-home life balance comes as no surprise.

“Where equality really kicks in is when men and women become parents,” Campbell says. “Women are still shouldering this double burden, and it’s not sustainable.”




  
  

Samantha Fields
04/19/2010
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