Conservatism and feminism: The case of the British Conservative Party

Valerie Bryson, Timothy Heppell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the potential links and contradictions between conservatism and feminism in the light of the British Conservative Party's recent claim to 'ideological renewal' under David Cameron. It identifies a number of longstanding, significant and sometimes unexpected overlaps and resonances between some conservative ideas as these have developed in the party over time, and some elements of feminist thought. However, the article also argues that no strand of conservative thought supports the robust analysis that would be needed to tackle entrenched gender inequalities and injustices, while many of the party's underlying assumptions are deeply anti-feminist. This means that Cameron's pro-feminist rhetoric is likely to be both divisive and incapable of realization, so that a focus on feminism highlights the hazardous nature of his attempt at ideological renewal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-50
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Political Ideologies
Issue number1
Early online date5 Feb 2010
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2010


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