I am an author, speaker and trainer with an interest in the role of women in the public space, particularly in politics and the Labour Party.
My most recent book, Uncontrollable Women: Radicals, Reformers and Revolutionaries, was published by Bloomsbury (IB Tauris) in January 2022. My previous book, The Women In the Room: Labour’s Forgotten History, was published in 2018. You can find out more about both books here, including how to order them.
I am currently working on a life of Margaret Bondfield (1873-1953), who, in 1929, became the first woman Cabinet Minister and Privy Counsellor.
I am an experienced trainer and facilitator, working both in the UK and abroad. I have delivered workshops and training courses on a variety of subjects, including political development and leadership skills, in the UK, in the Balkans, in Middle East and North African (MENA) countries, as well as in Ghana, Botswana and South Africa.
Amongst other things, I have been a councillor in Leeds (1980-93), a Labour Party organiser (1993-99) and the Party’s Regional Director for Yorkshire & the Humber, a post I held until 2006 when I set up the Centre for Women & Democracy to work on women’s presence, power and agency in politics in the UK and abroad.
Since then I have conducted research and published reports on a range of issues, including leadership in local government, women in elections, and the effect of government policy on women in decision-making roles. I have given evidence to various inquiries, including the Speaker’s Conference and Select Committees, and I have worked with a variety of organisations in the women’s and democracy sectors. The Centre for Women and Democracy closed in 2018.
I am a member of the Executive of Labour Women’s Network, whose training programme I co-ordinate, and I lead on the delivery of the Jo Cox Women in Leadership course, which was established to commemorate the late MP. I have helped to prepare many MPs, councillors and leaders for public office, and am a strong advocate of the need to ensure diversity of all kinds in public representatives and in the wider public realm.
I live in Leeds, and am a long-standing, sometimes happy, but always very apprehensive, Leeds United season ticket holder.