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iVillage.co.uk Launches News, Politics Channel For U.K. Women

[London, ENGLAND] Online community iVillage UK launched Wednesday its news and political channel for women, with online polls, message boards and expert commentary.

A joint venture between the U.S. women's network iVillage.com and British retailer Tesco, iVillage UK is breaking new ground with its latest online content. Publishers normally keep to the tried and tested subjects of home, beauty, sex, food and fitness when they address the female sector in the U.K.

However, Tina Gaudoin, editorial director of iVillage UK, made the point that women are empowered by exercising choice.

"From instruction on how to campaign and techniques for lobbying MPs, to provocative opinion from a team of leading experts and journalists, this channel provides a forum for women to make their voices heard," said Gaudoin.

Other channels on iVillage UK include Computers & Internet, Diet & Fitness, Food, Horoscopes & Astrology, Pregnancy & Baby, Relationships, and Work & Career.

The new political channel has already stirred up some controversy by highlighting the fact that Prime Minister Tony Blair has turned down an offer to answer questions from women voters online. By contrast, leaders of the opposition parties, William Hague and Charles Kennedy, have both agreed to take part.

"By ignoring the women that voted for him, Blair is reinforcing the findings of a recent report from the Fawcett Society that claimed he was losing his appeal with women voters," says a somewhat irate announcement from iVillage UK.

So is iVillage UK overtly Conservative?

Tesco heiress Dame Shirley Porter has long since retired from being Conservative leader of London's Westminster Council, but it would be surprising if either Tesco or iVillage UK were to take an anti-Labour Party stance on the verge of an election.

Among the feature articles being offered currently on iVillage.co.uk are some that claim to "uncover Government secrets." On closer examination, the "secrets" refer to the Profumo scandal under the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan

Profumo? Surely there is nothing newsworthy or currently political in the Profumo scandal. Any interest in it today is on account of sex. Could it be that iVillage is spicing up its political coverage with a few of the "tried and tested subjects" after all?