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Here's what every single Tory candidate thinks about women's rights and feminism

Strap in - it’s not going to be a very fun ride...

17 Jun 2019

Drugs! Taxes! Backstabbing! Bad quips! That’s right, the contest to replace Theresa May is now very much on, with seven candidates pitching first to Conservative MPs then to party members and explaining why they would make a good Prime Minister.

Out of the seven left in the running, zero are now women, because as we all know only one woman can run the country every few decades and anything more would be excessive. The whole thing has so far been largely unedifying, with candidates keener to talk about their former weed or coke habit than exactly how they would solve Brexit and mend the country.

Oh, and they’ve all been pretty vague on what the female half of the population should expect if they end up in No10, predictably (which is why GLAMOUR has been asking our wannabe PMs to pledge their commitment to our freedoms) – but worry not, if you want a glimpse into their views on women, we’ve dug through the archives to discover their thoughts – and added a few words of our own on what we reckon they mean.

Strap in - it’s not going to be a very fun ride...

Boris Johnson

What he says: “To all those who worry, to all those who wonder if it might – just might – be a teensy bit unfair on the male sex, I say forget it. Put a sock in it, pal. We need that feminist rage. We need that dam to burst, and when it does we need the waters of righteous anger to sweep away the global injustice to the female sex.”

“With the world now likely to hit 11bn people by 2050 [...] that British mission to educate young women and girls, to save them from the evil of modern slavery, to uphold our belief in equality wherever we go is as profoundly in our interests as it is of girls in the developing world.”

What we say: Hmm. Hmmmmm. If there’s one thing Boris Johnson likes to do, it is talking, but are we in any way sure that there is something beneath all that bluster? Given that, for example, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is still imprisoned in Iran and he didn’t exactly help her situation when it was his job to get her out, we’re not convinced.

Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid

What he says: “Today marks 100 years since the first British women won the right to vote. As a father of 3 girls, so proud that the UK is a global leader on gender equality.”

"Thinking of the two women who have inspired me the most, the great Margaret Thatcher and my amazing mum #InternationalWomansDay"

“I have therefore reached the conclusion that introducing national buffer zones would not be a proportionate response, considering the experiences of the majority of hospitals and clinics, and considering that the majority of activities are more passive in nature.”

What we say: Javid has talked about gender equality a fair bit in his time in politics, but apparently finds it hard to discuss women without mentioning his daughters or Margaret Thatcher. Has campaigned to end FGM and forced marriages and his team says he’s a feminist, but as Home Secretary he refused to set up buffer zones outside abortion clinics.

Dominic Raab

What he says: “While we have some of the toughest anti-discrimination laws in the world, we are blind to some of the most flagrant discrimination – against men. From the cradle to the grave, men are getting a raw deal. Feminists are now amongst the most obnoxious bigots.”

What we say: Need we say more?

Jeremy Hunt

What he says: “There is a lot of evidence that women are often better leaders, and we need to think hard about why that is. I personally am an advocate of saying that the best leaders are ego-free, and I think women tend to be better at that than men.”

“My own view is that 12 weeks is the right point for it. It is just my view about that incredibly difficult question – about the moment we should deem life to start.”

What we say: Some talk has been talked by Hunt but there’s no much walk being walked. On the one hand, he thinks we make better leaders; on the other, he doesn’t trust us to decide what to do with our own bodies. We’re not exactly excited.

Michael Gove

What he says: “Sometimes I think that coming into the studio with you, John [Humphrys], is a bit like going into Harvey Weinstein’s bedroom...You just pray that you emerge with your dignity intact.”

What we say: Gove has been an MP since 2005 and a prominent politician for most of that time but we could barely find a single quote on issues relating to women, apart from this joke in very questionable taste, from 2017. His campaign told journalists he’s a feminist, but there’s just not much out there to support or contradict that statement.

Rory Stewart

What he says: Nothing much.

What we say: There’s really not a lot here, though as prisons minister, Stewart did work on the “Female Reoffender Strategy” programme to improve outcomes for female offenders, which earns him some points. His team also confirmed he calls himself a feminist. Needs more, though.

Matt Hancock

Well we were going to say that of the seven candidates, he was the one who seemed the most encouraging on women’s issues but he’s not pulled out, so. That’s that, isn’t it.