I am a writer, speaker and trainer with an interest in the role of women in the public space, particularly in politics and the Labour Party.
My new book, Uncontrollable Women: Radicals, Reformers and Revolutionaries, will be published by Bloomsbury (IB Tauris) on 16 November 2021. 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.
In 2016 I edited a collection of women’s political quotations – the only one of its kind – called In Our Own Words. To order a copy, please email email@example.com.
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.
I have a degree in Political Science from Leeds University and, after graduating, worked in advertising sales and insurance. I was active in both my trade union and the Labour Party, and in 1980 I was elected to Leeds City Council. Over the next 14 years I led on a range of issues, chairing the new Women’s Committee as well as Committees responsible for (amongst others) Public Works, Economic Development, and Education.
In 1993 I was appointed to an organising job with the Labour Party, and in 1999 I became the Party’s Regional Director for Yorkshire & the Humber, a post I held until 2006 when I left and 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 remain an active member of the Labour Party, and am a member of the Committee of Labour Women’s Network, whose training programme she co-ordinates. I have helped to prepare many MPs, councillors and leaders for public office, and am a strong advocate of 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, very happy, but also very apprehensive, Leeds United season ticket holder.