How to win the female vote

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Sir: It is no surprise that three out of four women are dissatisfied with the political parties ("Women's groups set doorstep test for candidates", 19 February).

Research by MORI for the Fawcett Society last year showed that women were less likely than men to trust any of the parties, or the party leaders. A survey by the Women's Communication Centre produced an agenda using women's own words that was very different from the agenda of any of the main political parties. The same survey showed women rejecting a political system that was just about "one party bashing another". Research by Demos has revealed a deep alienation from politics, particularly among younger women.

What these studies all show is a serious and growing lack of faith among women in our political system. Unfortunately the response from both politicians and the media is often to assume that this is a problem of presentation, not policies. Discussion about the need to appeal to women voters in the past few months has all too often focused on which of the party leaders is more physically attractive, rather than which has the most attractive policies.

It is time that politicians realised that it will take more than lip service to win women's votes. We want real commitments to policies to improve life for us and our families.

SHELAGH DIPLOCK

Director

The Fawcett Society

London EC2

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