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‘I’d rather give birth again without drugs’: Mumsnet survey reveals barriers for mums in politics as 93% say they would never stand for election

Figures published by Mumsnet in February 2022 revealed that public scrutiny, misogyny, and the incompatibility of politics with family life mean that even the most politically aware mums are unlikely to get involved in politics.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Feb 8, 2023

In a survey of more than a thousand mums, 88% of those asked said that they are interested in politics - but only 7% would ever consider standing for election at any level.  Nearly half of those asked agreed that they would rather “give birth again without drugs” than get involved in politics in any way.

Even as they said they were reluctant to participate, Mumsnet users strongly felt politics should be more representative.  83% agreed that there should be more diverse representation among political figures, and 79% of those surveyed agreed more female representation at top levels of government would have meant women’s needs were taken into account during the pandemic.

Willingness to get involved in politics varied dramatically by household income and age.   Those with a household income of £75k or more were significantly more likely to say that they would consider standing for election.  Mums aged 50 or over, with a household income of £75k or more were most likely to consider it (18%).  

Common reasons for not wanting to get involved in politics also differed depending on income. Those with a household income of less than £75k were twice as likely to say that they wouldn’t get involved because they feel like they wouldn’t fit in (24% vs 11% of those with a household income of at least £75k). 

The survey also revealed the level of political awareness amongst Mumsnet users, and the extent to which they turn to the site for political information.  98% of users said they voted in all or most general elections, and 88% in all or most local elections.  Half of those surveyed agreed that using Mumsnet had increased their political awareness, and 51% of those mums who are as yet undecided who they will vote for in the next general election said they seek political news from the site.

Justine Roberts, founder and CEO of Mumsnet said:

“A toxic combination of macho culture, misogynist abuse, and archaic ways of working that make family life almost impossible means that even the most politically engaged mums are unlikely to stand for election at any level.  And if mums don’t have a seat at the table, then the issues that affect them will continue to be overlooked by the men in charge.  

We know from Mumsnet users that there were countless examples of this during the pandemic, from the confusion over vaccinations for pregnant women, to the rules that meant new mums gave birth alone, to the way that the burden of childcare fell disproportionately on women when schools were closed.

Political parties must take action to empower more mums to get involved at every level.  We simply cannot afford to ignore the views, experiences and talents of such a significant proportion of the population.”

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For further information, full data set, or media requests, please contact [email protected].

Survey of 1,098 women in the UK with at least one child, between 20 January 2022 and 24 January 2022. The data is not weighted.