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Parenting Gurus Respond To Helen Goodman's Blog About Politicians Who Are Working Mothers

08/07/2015 15:14 BST | Updated 08/07/2015 15:59 BST

Shadow media minister Helen Goodman sparked controversy after stating that the fact Yvette Cooper is a "working mum" had played a part in her decision to back the shadow home secretary's leadership campaign.

In her blog on HuffPost UK - Why, as a parent, I'm Backing Yvette Cooper as Labour's Next Leader - Goodman wrote: "As a working mum, she understands the pressures on modern family life."

Following the blog post parenting gurus have debated whether being a "mum" translates into being a good politician.

Anne-Marie O'Leary, editor of parenting site Netmums said: "The person behind the politics is always important as voters like to see if they connect with them - but being a mum isn't solely going to get anyone into office."

working mums

O'Leary added: "Voters want to know what a candidate will do for their family, not what the candidate's own family set up is."

Goodman wrote in her blog: "We need a leader who knows what challenges ordinary people face day to day, and who is committed to helping them. And as I see it, there are six major challenges that politicians need to get to grips with."

The challenges Goodman referred to were: family finances, childcare, the 'sandwich generation', mental health, protection online and women and children as victims of crime.

Justine Roberts, CEO of Mumsnet agreed with O'Leary that although motherhood is a complete "life-changer", it is not necessarily the sole quality that will translate into being a good politician.

She said: "We're not convinced it makes someone more qualified to be Labour party leader.

"Of course lots of Mumsnet users would like to believe that politicians really understand the pressures of raising a young family.

"But many British voters live in all-kinds of under-represented households.

"Pitting mothers against non-mothers feels like a divisive red herring and not something, we notice, that happens to fathers and non-fathers."

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However Siobhan Freegard, founder of parenting video channel Channel Mum said: "All the main male party leaders played on their family credentials in the last election, so why should a woman be criticised for doing the same now?

"Anyone who can juggle three kids and a very powerful job will have the ability and agility to handle party leadership or the PM's role."

Freegard argued that to get a fairer deal for families, more mothers need to be in Parliament.

"There are 650 MPs but just 22% are women and even fewer are mums.

"Electing a busy working mum as a party leader will send a signal that family issues are being taken seriously."

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.

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