What women want: peace, equality and sizzling sex

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The Independent Online
Many of the issues that dominate British politics leave women cold, according to one of the biggest surveys of their attitudes ever undertaken.

Unemployment, defence and all the arguments about Europe, monetary union and national sovereignty are of little interest to women, at least in the form that these subjects normally reach the headlines. The female agenda is radically different from that of any mainstream political party.

Unemployment may be high on the political agenda but three times as many women are interested in pensions, the study says. They were also worried about low wages, the status of part-time work, job-sharing and maternity rights.

The findings are in a report called Values and Visions, published tomorrow. Women were asked simply: "What do you want?"

The 46,000 different responses showed that the issues most frequently mentioned were equality, education, peace, children and the environment.

The report said: "This does not necessarily mean that unemployment does not concern women, rather that their priorities within the debate are different."

On Europe, women mentioned the social chapter but not one referred to monetary union. They had clear thoughts on economic priorities. Many were angry at the tax and benefit system and the "lack of flexibility that leaves many in a poverty trap". They wanted "people before profit" and "less competition, more co-operation".

The report said: "They ask for a tempered capitalism where profits are directed more to social use and on-target paper figures are not the sole indicators of prosperity."

Sue Tibballs, director of the Women's Communication Centre, which co- ordinated the survey with backing from the Body Shop and the Co-operative Bank, said: "I want policy-makers to read this; I don't think they take women seriously enough."

But the wants were not confined to politics and economics. "Men who realise that the occasional hoovering does not constitute housework," was the plea from one respondent. And another wanted: "A romantic - you know, the type who talks to you after sex. Nothing special - as long as he has pectorals, a PhD, a nice bum, a non-sexist attitude, can cook souffles and wants a loving relationship with bone-marrow melting sex... Now is that too much to ask of a billionaire?"