Gender and the Vote in Britain: Beyond the Gender Gap?

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ECPR Press, Dec 1, 2006 - Political Science - 168 pages

The 2005 British general election witnessed unprecedented media interest in the parties' attempts to 'woo' women voters. There was much speculation about a fracturing relationship between women and Tony Blair, the term 'let-down woman' was used by the press to describe how the relationship had allegedly gone sour. 

Gender and the Vote in Britain provides comprehensive analysis of the 1992-2005 British general elections and tests whether there were, in fact, sex differences in leadership evaluations, party of vote and political attitudes. The interactions between sex, age, class, race, and education are examined and gender effects are understood as tectonic plates that will shift and change according to the specific context of a given election. Thus, the argument of the book is that background or sociodemographic characteristics play an important role in electoral choice but that their impact is mitigated by other factors, such as issue salience. For example gender may impact upon political attitudes, so that more women than men prioritise spending on health or education, but this will only translate into voting behaviour if the political parties diverge on these issues.


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Page 72 - Recently there has been a lot of talk about women's rights. Some people feel that women should have an equal role with men in running business, industry, and government.
Page 37 - Women differ from men in their political behavior "only in being somewhat more frequently apathetic, parochial, conservative, and sensitive to the personality, emotional, and esthetic aspects of political life and electoral campaigns.
Page 67 - People in Britain should be more tolerant of those who lead unconventional lives.
Page 70 - Reduce taxes and spend less on health, education and social benefits...
Page 49 - Significant at the 5 per cent level; *** Significant at the 1 per cent level.
Page 24 - Women are more likely than men to work in the public sector, a factor known to be linked to identification with the Democratic Party.
Page 74 - Significant at the 0.10 level. ** Significant at the 0.05 level. *** Significant at the 0.01 level.
Page 66 - Ordinary people get their fair share of the nation's wealth. • There is one law for the rich and one for the poor. • There is no need for strong trade unions to protect employees' working conditions and wages.
Page 41 - The significance of the political emancipation of women is not in the suffragette's dream of women in cabinets, parliaments, at the upper levels of the civil service, and the like.
Page 119 - significant at the 0.001 level; "significant at the 0.01 level; Significant at the 0.05 level; d significant at the 0.10 level.

About the author (2006)

Rosie Campbell is lecturer in research methods at the School of Politics and Sociology, Birkbeck College, University of London. She researches gender and representation, participation and voting behaviour. She is currently involved in the British Representation Study 2005, a study of the backgrounds, attitudes and experiences of MPs and candidates. 

Previous publications include Gender, Ideology and Issue Preference: Is there such a Thing as a Political Women's interest in Britain? BJPIR 6:20-46, Winning Women's Votes? The Incremental Track to Equality with Joni Lovenduski in Parliamentary Affairs, October 2005 and the electoral commission report Gender and Political Participation with Pippa Norris and Joni Lovenduski, published in 2004.

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