Cameron hires PR firm to get inside pretty little heads of female voters

His wife Samantha is the political spouse that most women relate to, according to polls. But in an attempt to reach out personally to female voters, David Cameron has enlisted the help of a marketing firm which advises clients how to relate to women.

The consultancy, Pretty Little Head, run by two women, says it can reach out to a female audience by appealing to its "utopian impulse". It claims to use "scientific research" on gender differences, which controversially suggests that women are driven by a need to "tend and befriend", while men are ruled by an "achievement impulse".

Founders Jane Cunningham and Philippa Roberts argue on their website: "The world viewed through masculine eyes is a huge, complex, action-packed stadium in which he has to compete. The competitive context may vary – work, a social group, sexual conquest – but ultimately life is about finding ways to win."

The pair, who have also written a book, 'Inside Her Pretty Little Head', add: "Unlike men, however, women have the disadvantage of being less influential, less confident, less well understood, and as a result their worldview is less publicly accepted as important or even viable. As a consequence, it seems to us therefore that the role for feminine brands must be to inspire, encourage and support women as they try to create utopia."

Pretty Little Head, based in north London, was hired by Steve Hilton, Mr Cameron's strategy guru. The Conservative Party said it had been used for marketing on more than one occasion, but the last time was around the time of Tory spring conference.

The Labour MP Lynda Waltho said: "The women of this country don't need David Cameron patronising us and treating us like idiots.

"We want serious leaders who'll get on with dealing with the problems – that's why women trust Gordon Brown to handle this crisis, not a PR man like David Cameron."

A Conservative Party spokesman said: "We have used this consultancy from time to time." A source said the firm was not one of the major companies used by the party.

An Ipsos Mori poll for the Fawcett Society last month found that 44 per cent of women are satisfied with Mr Cameron's performance as party leader, compared with 52 per cent of men.

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