Jo Cox MP was a passionate feminist who was tireless in her enthusiasm for maximising women’s voices in politics. Jo was the first ever elected Chair of Labour Women’s Network, leading the organisation from 2011 until her election as MP for Batley and Spen in 2015.
Jo’s tragic assassination in 2016 cut short a parliamentary career characterised by guts, partnership working and energetic truth telling.
LWN and The Labour Party created the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Scheme in 2016 in the months following her death to continue Jo’s legacy by investing in a generation of women leaders within The Labour Party who have the skills, experience and networks to change the world and to support other women in doing so.
Open to all women members of The Labour Party, the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Scheme offers places to approximately 55 women each year, from all regions of the UK.
LWN provides the expert training and carefully crafted course content, while The Labour Party manage the application process.
Applications for Cohort 5 open in October, and you will receive an email directly from Anneliese Dodds at the Labour Party.
The scheme involves both online and in-person sessions and one residential weekend, as well as additional development opportunities to be undertaken between sessions.
Four cohorts of women have now successfully graduated from the course.
The course is highly successful in increasing women’s success in standing for elected office:
- two graduates, Preet Gill and Rosie Duffield, became Members of Parliament in 2017;
- 20% of Labour’s record breaking 53% women General Election candidates in 2019 were Labour Women’s Network or Jo Co Women in Leadership Course graduates;
- several have become Council leaders or Cabinet members; and
- one, Anna Rothery, became the first black Lord Mayor of Liverpool
You can watch The Labour Party's video about the impact of the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Scheme by clicking on the image of Seyi (Seyi was a participant of cohort one) to your left or below you can read more from just a handful of graduates on their experiences of the scheme.
However, the impact of the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Scheme goes well beyond boosting representation in public life. It empowers women to empower other women, forging a powerful intersectional network of all shades of red, and encouraging them to act as agents for positive change within their local parties, communities and workplaces - qualities that mirror LWN's own training over the last three decades.
Seyi Akiwowo, went on to found Glitch, a non-profit campaign to end online abuse, being named Digital Leader of the Year in 2019. Another graduate, Bex Bailey, was named in Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for her role in the #MeToo movement, and went on to work for the BBC. Meanwhile, cohort 4 graduates Amna Abdul and Shaista Aziz were shortlisted for a National Diversity Award for their work as part of The Three Hijabis. Three other cohort 4 sisters, Jayne Kirkham, Marie Tidball and Anna Dixon have now been slected to stand for Parliament for Labour.
We our proud of the diversity of our Jo Cox Women in Leadership Scheme graduates, who include doctors, nurses, teachers, scientists, carers, musicians, firefighters, and train drivers.
On your right is the diversity statistics for Cohort Four or click here to see a PDF of the Diversity monitoring for Cohort 4 (2022) of the scheme.
The Jo Cox Women in Leadership Scheme identifies exceptional Labour women who in the majority cases would never usually be able to access gold standard development opportunities of this nature.
You can find out about all of LWN training here.
You can read what a very few of the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Graduates had to say about their experiences either below or click here for a PDF;
What our graduates say:
Abena Akuffo-Kelly, cohort 4:
“Words are an insufficient vehicle to describe what LWN has done for me through the Jo Cox Women in Leadership Scheme. I still have work to do, but the experiences and networks on this course have supercharged my progress, and I'm further along the road than I would ever have been. I recommend it to other sisters of all backgrounds without reservation.”