Powerless women set to benefit from aid fund in Jo Cox's name

Aid money will be given to help powerless women in poor countries build better lives in memory of murdered Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox, the International Development Secretary has announced.

Penny Mordaunt called for everyone to “raise their game” to make gender equality a reality ahead of International Women’s Day.

Jo Cox Memorial Grants funded by £10 million of UK Aid Direct cash will be made to grassroots organisations on issues the Labour MP campaigned on.

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The money will be used to help the voices of girls and women be heard when holding people in power to account, as well as supporting them to find work and improving access to family planning services.

Jo Cox

Speaking ahead of a speech in London, Ms Mordaunt said: “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.

“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.

“We all have the power to change this injustice and that’s why UK aid is keeping girls in school, stamping out violence and giving a voice to women both at home and in shaping the future of their countries.

“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.”

Jo Cox

Ms Mordaunt will say that a strategic vision for gender equality will help reach women and girls most at risk of being left behind because of ethnicity, disability or geography.

She will call for more women to be given a seat at the negotiating table in areas hit by conflict or crisis.

Ms Mordaunt will also say more must be done to increase women’s involvement in politics.

Kim Leadbeater, Mrs Cox’s sister, said: “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.

“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.

“Jo spent 20 years working in the voluntary sector and working overseas.

“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.”