The Baroness Hodgson of Abinger CBE

The Baroness Hodgson of Abinger CBE

Honorary Vice President, CWO

The Baroness Hodgson of Abinger Fiona is an Honorary Vice President of the Conservative Women’s Organisation (CWO). She was President of the CWO from 2008 – 2011, Chairman from 2005 - 2008 and Deputy Chairman from 2002 - 2005.

From 2009-2012 Fiona was on the Board of the Conservative Party, first as Vice President of the National Convention (2009-2011) and then as President (2012), chairing the Party Conference in Manchester in October 2011.

She was Vice Chairman of the Conservative Policy Forum and is a member of the Conservative Human Rights Commission.

Since the end of her term of office as Chairman of CWO in 2008, Fiona has worked on international women’s issues especially in the context of developing and conflict countries.

She is Chairman of the Advisory Group of GAPS (Gender Action in Peace and Security), a network of organisations highlighting, facilitating and monitoring UN Resolution 1325 on the inclusion of women in post conflict resolution. Fiona is also a member of the Association of Oxfam , a Trustee of the Chalker Foundation, a Patron of Afghan Connection and on the Advisory Group of WPD (Widows for Peace through Democracy).

She is a member of the All Party Group on Women, Peace and Security, and has been a delegate at the Commission on the Status of Women meeting at the UN in New York for the past five years.

Fiona was awarded a CBE for her work on gender equality in the New Year’s Honours List in 2012 and was elevated to the Peerage in 2013.

Fiona first became involved in the political world when she met her husband who was then MP for Walsall North. She originally became involved with the Conservative Women's Organisation through the fund-raising side and was co-opted on to the Executive Committee in 1992. She chaired the Blue Ribbon Dinner in 1995 and then devised and helped produce the recipe book "Cabinet Puddings" to raise funds for the 1997 Election, "All Star Starters" to raise funds for the 2001 Election as well as devising the "CWNC Millennium Quiz". In 2002 she became Deputy Chairman of CWO and was Vice Chairman 2003-2005.

During her time as Chairman, Fiona focussed on connecting the Organisation to a much wider audience and age range. This was achieved by setting up The Conservative Women’s Forum, which runs panel events on a wide range of subjects to connect to women and also running Summits that involved stakeholder organisations. Some of these events were on more ‘edgier’ issues than the CWO was traditionally used to tackling and included a theme of addressing violence against women, trafficking of women and international women’s human rights. She also set up a CWO Muslim Group, which consisted of Muslims and non-Muslims, to promote dialogue and understanding. This new work was run alongside the more traditional way of working with the invaluable network of women at grassroots level across the country.

Whilst Chairman she also sat on the Candidates Committee, the National Convention Strategy Group, the Women’s Overview Group, Women2Win and the Children’s Team.

Fiona also encouraged the Organisation to look at the position of women outside the UK. She initiated a visit to Washington in 2006 to research how George Bush had won the women’s vote. She took part in 2007 and 2008 in the Conservative Party’s Social Action Project in Rwanda. She took a party to visit the MEPs in Brussels in 2007 and in 2008 took two of her Deputies to take part in the UN Commission on the Status of Women meeting in New York. International Women’s Human Rights and women in developing countries is an agenda that Fiona is continuing to work on.

Fiona has held a number of public appointments and voluntary positions. Between 1989-97 she was a member of the Farm Animal Welfare Council, a Government advisory body, she then served on the Advisory Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs (2001-4), one of the Advisory Committees of the Food Standards Agency.

In the area of health and standards of medical care, from 1992-94 she was a Non-Executive Director of Barnet Health Authority specialising in maternity and complaints. She was a Member of the General Council and Appeals Committee of Wellbeing (the fund-raising arm of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists) and in 2003/4 served on a Committee revising the Complaints Codes for the Independent Healthcare Forum. She was the only patient representative on the Independent Sector Working Group. She now chairs the Governance Board for the Independent Sector Complaints and Adjudication Service and sits on the Independent Sector Assessment and Advisory Committee of the Independent Doctors Federation.
From 2010-2011 Fiona sat on the Women’s Justice Taskforce which looked at women in the criminal justice system.

She was Chairman of the Parent/Teacher Association of Thomas's School and was formerly a member of the Council of International Social Services UK.
Fiona has had a varied career – starting her working life in the civil service, she then worked in market research and for the last 25 years has run small businesses. Fourteen years ago she established her own interior design company which specialises in the domestic market.
She is married to Robin Hodgson, who is a Conservative working Peer in the House of Lords. They have four children and live in London and Shropshire.

Her main interests are walking, riding, skiing, reading, cooking and spending time with the family!

For further information about the CWO, or to arrange an interview with anyone named, please contact:

CWO Chairman
Tel: (020) 7984 8139