17 JUNE 2016

The murder of Jo Cox MP marks a very dark day indeed for our democracy and for women in public life. The Fawcett Society extends our deepest sympathies to Jo Cox’s family, friends and colleagues. Her terrible death has left us all in a state of shock.

As an MP, Jo Cox did vital work both for her constituents and for the causes she believed in. No MP, least of all Jo, should lose their life in carrying out their public duty. The level of hostility directed towards her was extreme and irrational. Jo has paid the most tragic price for speaking out and standing up.

Other women, in particular women in public life – from high profile MPs and campaigners to any woman who dares to express an opinion – are targeted with repeated misogynistic abuse, rape and death threats. Fawcett has feared but hoped we would never see this moment. The moment when a woman doing her job in a public role has her life taken from her.

Although the threats, and now Jo’s death, make it harder for women to participate in politics, we also need them more now than ever before. Women’s voices must be heard and women must be treated with respect. Diversity helps us make better decisions. Women in public life help create a better world for everyone.

Let’s use this as the moment to celebrate Jo’s contribution to public life and to start properly to value our women politicians and to hear women’s voices.

We will be in parliament square this evening from 6pm to express our sorrow and stand up for a more equal world where all are treated with dignity and respect. One where hatred and misogyny are in the past. Most of all we will be there to remember Jo. Please join us.