Over the weekend David Cameron sought out the press to explain that far from being the old fashioned Tory who told women their place,he was reaching out as a 21st century man rather than aping his recent conduct in the Commons towards fellow MP Nadine Dorries or opposition spokesman Angela Eagle.
Cameron told the Sunday Times that
What I find frustrating is that I'm not the kind of, I'm not sort of one of the lads. Actually, you know, most of my, I mean one of my best friends ... When I go out ... it's always ... oh, I'm not explaining this properly.
There is little doubt that the female vote probably cost the Tories any overall majority at the last election as polls around that time gave them a 10 point lead over Labour among men ,but only a 5 point lead among women.
According to Mary Ann Sieghart,writing in this morning's Independent,only 13 per cent of women say that the Conservatives are the party that best understands and reflects their views.
This reflects in part the coalition's deficit reduction strategy which seems unfairly weighted on the female sex.As Mary Ann continues
Cameron can't, for the moment, abandon his deficit-reduction strategy, though he could do more to encourage growth. But he could reverse the insane childcare cuts, which are pushing women out of jobs just when they should be working. And he could talk more cogently about what he is doing beyond the economy to make women's lives better
A point to which Polly Curtis agrees
Independent research suggests that women are feeling the impact of the cuts more keenly than men, offering another explanation of the trend in women's voting intentions. Cameron's apology may be welcomed, but it is misses the bigger target.
Over at Dale and Co, Deborah Mattinson
I have rarely experienced such anger in a discussion like this. These women were all working very hard. Several were juggling family and more than one job. They all feared losing those jobs in the coming months. Most had endured pay freezes while simultaneously coping with rising bills, especially on essentials like gas, electricity and food. Those with younger kids felt that their ambitions for university had been dashed. Those with older kids wondered if they would ever get a job. While the men were more tolerant of the government's economic strategy the women were personally affronted.
It's not going to go away for the Tories.They have to hope that in four years,the economy will have turned and women start to feel the benefit.Otherwise we are in for another hung Parliament