Spot Light on: Baroness Jowell

Here at Virago, we’ve celebrated at length the achievements of historical female figures, but today we wanted to talk about women who deserve recognition for the work they have done and continue to do.

Tessa Jowell recently caught headlines for her brave and brilliant speech in the House of Lords where she spoke open and honestly about her battle with brain cancer.

In the speech she spoke about the lack of new technology available for that battling brain cancer, she said

“Less than 2% of cancer research funding In the U.K is spent on brain tumors. No vital new drugs have been developed for the last 50 years..”

And while her personal story is the one making the headlines now, back in 1992 it was because she was elected Member of Parliament for Dulwich and West Norwood.

During her political career she played a number of roles, she was appointed as Minister of State in the Department of Health after the historic 1997 Labour win. She moved again to the department of education and employment in 1999 and was lastly promoted to Secretary of State at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport  after the 2001 election.

As culture secretary she set about trying to address her concerns with Television Broadcasting, she was a key member in the Communications Act in 2003 which established a new media regulator, OFCOM.  Jowell was also key to the successful bid Britain made in 2002 to host the 2012 Olympics, she came up with the idea in 2002 during her time as Culture Secretary with very little support from inside the cabinet. Jowell convinced the government to support the bid, in 2004 the big was launched and the games were awarded to London.  She was later promoted to Olympics Minister and held full responsibility for the responsibility from 2006 and retain her position throughout Labour’s time in office.

Following the general election of May 2010, she became Shadow Olympics Minister and remained on the 2012 organising committee until she resigned from her role in 2012.  That same year Tessa Jowell was appointed as a Dame Commander in the civil  division giving her the title DBE and she was later raised to the peerage in the 2015 Dissolution Honours giving her the title of Baroness Jowell.

It is clear that whatever life throws at her, public service has been a part of her life since she joined the Labour party in the early 70’s  and for her duty to public service even while she battles through cancer, we here at Virago believe Tessa Jowell represents and signifies everything we believe Virago here at Virago and we’ve made her an honorary Virago women.

It is obvious that she will more than qualify for a blue plaque.

by Azana Francis





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