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How can we close the political gender gap? Women are less interested in politics than men, study says

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At university, I lived with three girls and three boys. Occasionally, one girl’s parents would come by, dropping off old copies of the New Statesman. I’m mortified to say it was the boys who raided this free loot, whereas the girls, myself included, never picked up an issue. And, for me, that was despite having a mother who pushed politics onto me like my granny used to forcefully push a 50p piece into my palm – a precious thing not to be lost.

Now I digest politics like coffee, a daily buzz, addicted to podcasts and Twitter, constantly refreshing apps. But evidently, as a 20-year-old student, indie nights with boys in skinny jeans were just more appealing.

Maybe something else was going on. A new study flagged by The Economist this month points to a significant gender gap when it comes to interest in politics, and it starts young.

The study showed that there is a gender gap of about 20% among British 15-year-olds and that “in the following 10 years, as people develop into adults and unravel their political orientations, the extent of the gender gap continues to grow by about 10 additional percentage points. Following these formative years, attitudes crystallize and so does the gender gap, remaining at the same size” (about 30%).

Stella Creasy speaks to delegates at the 2015 Labour Party Autumn Conference (Photo: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

‘Significant gender........

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