Last week, UKIP unveiled their latest policies to try and gain votes in the upcoming General Election. These policies were aimed at attracting “the female vote”. The policies cover maternity leave, childcare…and the tax on sanitary products.
There’s nothing new about this technique of political parties publicising specific policies targeting women: in February the pink minibus of Labour was unveiled – staffed by women, these women were going to go out and talk to women, about women’s things. Here, Labour had identified “five areas that Labour has determined are key to women: childcare, social care, domestic violence, equal pay and political representation.”
But here’s the thing: surprisingly, women don’t actually spend their entire lives with their interests being defined by their genitals. And they really, really shouldn’t be treated as if they are. By pursuing this approach, these political parties are reducing the interests of 50% of the population to only those related to reproduction.
Yes, women have children. Yes, women deal with childcare. Yes, women are concerned with schooling. But, the bit that the political parties seem to forget is…men are involved in these things too. Men have children. Men deal with childcare. Men are concerned with schooling. Yet we never hear about political parties worrying about trying to get “the male vote”. That’s because it would appear that men must have larger concerns, that don’t bother the silly little brains of us reproduction machines, so every policy that’s not about children is aimed at them. Men think about taxes, and the environment, and the healthcare system, and the economy, and education, and pensions, and international relations, and other such important things. Women? Well, they think about babies and children, and leave the thinking about hard stuff to the menfolk.
And what about those women without children? Or who’ve had children, who have now grown up and become adults? Are they allowed to have non-child-based political concerns? Or are they some sort of human waste, not relevant to the politicians because they don’t fit into their baby-based policy mould?
So here’s a suggestion for you politicians, if you want my vote…how about you show me the policies that address my wider concerns and interests, rather than regard my brain as some sort of ridiculous, child-obsessed mush?