Coalition to woo women voters

By staff

Plans to win over wavering female voters have been revealed in a leaked government document.

The policy paper distributed to government departments in the last week, and seen by the Guardian newspaper, includes a plan to shorten the summer school holiday "if we're feeling brave".

"We are clear that there are a range of policies we have pursued as a government which are seen as having hit women, or their interests, disproportionately," the document was quoted as stating.

"The group of Cabinet Office and No 10 women we assembled felt strongly that the general tone and messages of government communications, particularly around deficit reduction, were an issue – with women especially in the public sector feeling targeted.

"And even a view that the government's choice of leaders on the economy gave the implication that 'now there's a real job to be done sorting out the mess, it can only be done by men'."

Other measures being considered include the establishment of a website allowing women to secretly disclose their salaries, criminalising forced marriage and seeking ways to get more female mayors elected.

Child benefit could also be overhauled as a result of the policy drive, with more resources allocated to children's early years.

"Women don't want more spin and communications professionals, they want fundamental changes to government policy," shadow women and equalities minister Yvette Cooper said.

"Women and families are being hit hardest by government policies from pensions to tax credits to rising unemployment. Women are bearing twice the burden of paying the deficit down while still earning and owning less than men.

"This panicked reaction shows that once again, the Tories are treating the women of this country as an after-thought."