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Suffolk agency set to overhaul Conservative women's image

Southwold's Spring Design & Advertising has taken on one of its greatest challenges to date - revamping the image of Tory women.The agency has won the contract to take the Conservative Women's Organisation into the 21st century. In its heyday in the 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher was still riding high in the polls, the CWO boasted quarter of a million active members - making it the largest women's political movement in the western world. By 2009, that number had plummeted to just 3,000. Chairman Pauline Lucas said: 'Massive changes in the way that society structures itself have had an impact on the opportunities available for many women to engage in organisations - they may be working, following professional development, running families - with less time for each. It is good for us to come to terms with the task we have ahead.' The image of a Tory woman has changed, thanks to the down to earth approach and chic style of David Cameron's wife Samantha, and well known stylish supporters including Plum Sykes, Trinny Woodhall and Alexandra Shulman. Spring MD Erika Clegg said: 'Our task is to change dormant members into active members. We have been working with the organisation on a series of steps they can take to enhance their profile, be relevant to female party members - and other women - and grow back to the strength they had.' It is not the first time that Spring has worked with the Conservative Party. The agency was responsible for branding North Parade, a new retail zone at next year's Conservative party conference in Manchester. Based at CCHQ in Millbank, the CWO, which was founded in 1928, acts on behalf of every female member of the party. Activities include mentoring female parliamentary candidates, holding members' forums and discussing key issues which are then presented to MPs and help shape policy. On the Conservative benches in the House of Commons women remain under-represented - the 2005 election returned only 17 women MPs, 9 percent of the Parliamentary Party. Nearly a third of the candidates already selected to stand in the next election are women. CWO offers support to women candidates that have been selected to stand in the next election. For full details visit

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