Politics class: Why are women voters moving to the left?
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
This article picked by a teacher with suggested questions is part of the Financial Times free schools access programme. Details/registration here.
AQA Component 126.96.36.199: Elections and referendums: patterns of voting behaviour
Edexcel Component 1: 4.1: Voting behaviour and the media
Click to read the articles below and then answer the questions:
Background: what you need to know
Both AQA and Edexcel require students to study the factors that influence voting behaviour, using national data sources to identify and explain trends. Among the ‘social factors’ that you must consider is the role of gender. This article suggests reasons why women, having leaned towards the Conservative party in the 20th century, are now more likely than men to vote Labour.
It discusses the possibility that men and women may prioritise certain issues differently at elections — the notion of ‘salience’ (importance). The main argument, however, is that more women than men are entering higher education, and there is a link between levels of education and political orientation. At the same time, they are still earning less than men on average and likely to be more directly concerned with issues of child care and education. This helps to explain the way that the gender gap affects voting behaviour.
Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1
‘Social factors such as class, gender and age remain the most important determinants of voting behaviour in the UK.’ Analyse and evaluate this statement. [25 marks]
Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 1
Evaluate the view that social factors such as class, gender and age are the most important factors determining voting behaviour in the UK.
You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. (30)
TIP: In answering questions on voting behaviour, make sure that you refer to specific elections. The link in the article, ‘the average British woman was more likely to have backed Labour than the average man’, takes you to this commentary on the 2019 general election for more details.
Graham Goodlad, St John’s College