In Britain, the Conservative party under the leadership of PM David Cameron is putting a focused effort toward growing the number of elected women in its ranks. The British Conservatives have seen their approval ratings among women decline over the years. Recent polls show described Labour with a 7 point lead over the Tories among men, but a 26 point lead among women.
Cameron described the gender-gap challenge in the following terms. "My wife likes to say that if you don't have women in the top places, you are not just missing out on 50% of the talent, you are missing out on a lot more than 50% of the talent – and I think she probably has a point." For Conservatives, it isn’t just about raising their polling numbers; it is about reorganizing their party to incorporate the different types of experience, ideas and ways of thinking that female elected officials can bring to their work.
In our Athena Doctrine research, we found traits associate with feminine ideals like Plans for Future, Flexible, Empathetic, Patient and Selfless more highly correlated to leadership than traditionally masculine traits like Aggressive, Proud, Decisive and Independent.
Incorporating feminine ways of thinking into the masculine structures of the political party is the best way to truly effect a change in party perception. In fact, we found that 65% of men in the United Kingdom believed the world would be a better place if men thought more like women. This shift in cultural values has been built upon an increased number of people in society modeling feminine traits and values. As this change takes a more permanent hold in the UK and the rest of the world, rising numbers of females in the leadership ranks will be a natural outcome.