Lesley Abdela

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Lesley Julia Abdela MBE (born 17 November 1945)[1] is a British expert on women's rights and representation. She has worked as an adviser in 40 different countries to governments and IGOs (United Nations, CoE, IOM, OSCE), NGOs and the European Commission. She is also a Journalist, broadcaster, public speaker and women's rights campaigner.


Abdela was born in London and educated at Queen Anne's School, Chatelard School, Hammersmith College of Art and Building and the London College of Printing.

Abdela won the UK Woman of Europe award[2] for work seeking the empowerment of women in Central and Eastern Europe and in 19936 was the first Political Editor for Cosmopolitan Magazine. In 2006 Abdela was voted into the New Statesman's poll "Top 50 Heroes Of Our Time".[3] She was chosen July 2007 United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs European Alumni of the Month.[4] In the Queen's Birthday Honours 1990 Abdela was appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire for "services to the advancement of Women in Politics and Local Government".[5]

In 2007, Abdela came across the grave of Barbara Bodichon in the tiny churchyard of Brightling, East Sussex, about 50 miles (80 km) from London. It was in a state of disrepair, with its railings rusted and breaking away, and the inscription on the tomb almost illegible.[6] The historian Dr Judith Rowbotham at Nottingham Trent University issued an appeal for funds to restore the grave and its surroundings. About £1,000 was raised. The money was used under local supervision to sand-blast the railings and repaint them, and to clean the granite tomb.

Abdela has held positions in high-profile organizations throughout her career, including

Abdela is Senior Partner in Shevolution, a gender equality consultancy and lives in Burwash, East Sussex.


  • Abdela, Lesley and Tim Symonds (ed.), Breaking through the glass ceilings., Metropolitan Authorities Recruitment Agency, (1991), Solihull. ISBN 1-874025-99-1.
  • Abdela, Lesley, Do it! : walk the talk : a practical guide for employers on how to change the gender culture in the workplace., Metropolitan Authorities Recruitment Agency, (1995) Solihull, ISBN 1-874025-30-4.
  • Abdela, Lesley, What women want : a guide to creating a better and fairer life for women in the UK,, The Body Shop, (1994).[9]
  • Abdela, Lesley, A strange old mother : no press pass for women’s magazines. Violations of rights in Britain; 15,, Charter88 Enterprises, (1994), London. ISBN 1-873311-99-0.
  • Abdela, Lesley, Women with X appeal : women politicians in Britain today., Macdonald Optima. (1989), London. ISBN 0-356-17184-1.


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