Labour Women

Labour Women
Margaret Thomas on women in British politics

On the Saturday before the main party political conference, Dawn Butler chaired the Women’s conference in Liverpool where she discussed her policy of allowing women affected by domestic violence paid leave from work while they relocate. An entertaining and inspiring speaker, Dawn is passionate about women’s rights and a positive role model for women interested in entering politics. Her advice is, “if you feel passionately about an issue, then get involved…find people who share your vision and values.”

Dawn is one of a number of black women Labour MP’s. Others include the high-profile politician and shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, who in 1987 became the first black woman ever elected to the British Parliament. Born in London to Jamaican parents, after graduating from Cambridge University Diane worked for the government as a Home Office civil servant. She also worked for the lobby group, the National Council for Civil Liberties and as a journalist, as well as becoming the founder of the London Schools and the Black Child Initiative, which aims to raise educational achievement levels among black children. 

Marsha de Cordova has likewise moved to the forefront of politics in the last few years, becoming the Labour MP for Battersea in June 2017. She is now Shadow Minister for Disabled People, having been appointed to the role in October 2017. Marsha, who is visually impaired, is a passionate disability rights campaigner committed to making Parliament more accessible and improving support for disabled people.

All of these women have had to overcome the prejudices of being black, women - and in de Cordova’s case, disabled - in order to be elected M.P’s. Their courage is an inspiration to us all.