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Girls & Women

£10 Million Jo Cox Memorial Grant Announced in Fight for Gender Equality

Jo Cox, the late MP known for her tireless fight for equality, would be “over the moon” about £10 million grants to support women in developing countries, according to her sister. 

Kim Leadbeater described the joy her sister, who was murdered in June 2016, would feel about the announcement of the UK aid funding, to mark International Women’s Day. 

“It’s wonderful to have the Jo Cox Memorial Grants being launched today — for every life that is touched by these grants, they will make a real difference and they will be money well spent,” said Leadbeater in a statement. 

Take action: Sexist Laws Have No Place in 2018. Agree? Tell Governments to Act

“It’s so fitting to have these grants created in Jo’s name, which will reach a range of different countries and projects that encompass Jo’s passion for both women’s empowerment and bringing local communities together,” she said. 

“Jo spent 20 years working in the voluntary sector and working overseas,” she added. “These grants are a reminder of that and a reminder of her passion and her determination to hopefully inspire others with similar desires. Jo would be over the moon.” 

Penny Mordaunt, head of the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), announced the funding, which will go to supporting the “world’s most disadvantaged women.” 

Read more: UK's First 'Minister for Loneliness' Appointed to Carry on Jo Cox's Work

“Jo was a dedicated humanitarian who fought for gender equality at home and in developing countries and her passion and commitment will continue to support the world’s most disadvantaged and disenfranchised women through these new UK aid grants,” said Mordaunt in a statement released on Wednesday. 

“The #MeToo movement has sent shockwaves around the world and given a voice to millions of women, but the majority of women and girls in the poorest countries are still not heard,” she said. 

“We all have the power to change this injustice and that’s why UK aid is keeping girls in school, stamping gout violence, and giving a voice to women both at home and in shaping the future of their countries,” she continued. “It is only by everyone raising their game and making gender equality a reality that we will build a more peaceful, safe, and prosperous world for us all.” 

Without progress on gender equality, added Mordaunt, the UN’s Global Goals will not be met by 2030. 

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The Jo Cox Memorial Grants will support organisations fighting to hold powerful people to account, helping women achieve financial independence, and making access to family planning services easier. 

It’s the third round of funding from UK Aid Direct, DfID’s centrally-managed fund for small and medium-sized civil society organisations working to deliver sustained poverty reduction.

The funding, according to Mordaunt, will be used to support two specific issues “that were close to Jo’s heart” — women’s social, economic, and political empowerment, and strengthening societies’ capacity for early prediction of identity-based violence. 

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DfID will focus on three key areas, in its new Strategic Vision for Gender Equality:

  • Reaching those women and girls most a risk of being left behind, because of their ethnicity, their disability, or simply because of where they live. 
  • Stepping up for women and girls caught up in conflict or crisis, and to empower these women as well as protecting them. DfID highlighted that studies show peace treaties are a third more likely to work when women have a seat at the negotiating table. 
  • Doing more to increase women and girls’ political participation so they can influence the decisions that affect their lives. 

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN’s Global Goals, which include action on gender equality and reduced inequalities. In the run-up to the Commonwealth Summit, which is being held in London in April, we’re calling on world leaders to put an end to sexist laws once and for all. By taking action against discrimination with us, you can also earn free tickets to our Brixton event. Find out more here.