Sarah Jane Brown
Sarah Brown in 2008
|Spouse of the Prime Minister
of the United Kingdom
27 June 2007 – 11 May 2010
|Prime Minister||Gordon Brown|
|Preceded by||Cherie Blair|
|Succeeded by||Samantha Cameron|
|Born||Sarah Jane Macaulay
31 October 1963
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
|Children||Jennifer Jane (b. 2001-d.2002)
John Macaulay (born 2003)
James Fraser (born 2006)
|Residence||North Queensferry (private)|
|Alma mater||University of Bristol|
Sarah Jane Brown (née Macaulay; born 31 October 1963) is a British campaigner for global health and education, founder and president of Theirworld, a children's charity, the Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education and the co-founder of A World at School. She was a founding partner of Hobsbawm Macaulay Communications, a public relations company. She is married to the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown.
Early life and career
Sarah Jane Macaulay was born in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire on 31 October 1963. Her mother Pauline was a teacher and her father Iain worked for publisher Longman. Macaulay spent her infancy in Fife, before her family moved to Tanzania—where her mother was to operate a school—when she was two. When she was eight her parents separated. Both then remarried and her mother and stepfather took her and her two younger brothers, Sean and Bruce, to live in north London.
After leaving university, she worked at the brand consultancy Wolff Olins. At age 30 she founded the public-relations firm Hobsbawm Macaulay, in partnership with an old school friend, Julia Hobsbawm. Their clients included the New Statesman (owned by Geoffrey Robinson), the Labour Party and trade unions. In 2001, she left Hobsbawm Macaulay after finding out she was pregnant with her, and her husband Gordon Brown's, first child.
Charitable work: public health and education advocacy
Focus on maternal, newborn and child health [MNCH] and education
In 2002 Brown founded the charity Theirworld—originally known as PiggyBankKids—which began as a research fund to tackle complications in pregnancy, and in 2004 the charity founded the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory at the University of Edinburgh. The laboratory's work is notable for its unified obstetric and neonatal approach to complications in pregnancy and childbirth, with a particular focus on preterm births.
On 16 November 2015, Brown launched the Theirworld Birth Cohort project, a £1.5million study aimed at improving the health of women and their children who are born prematurely, at Edinburgh University as part of the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory. The project will track the development of 400 babies, most of whom are born before 32 weeks, following them through to adulthood, tracking educational attainment to help identify the causes and consequences of brain injury at birth and help speed the development of new treatments that could improve the health of prematurely born babies.
Theirworld also has a strong focus on global education through the A World at School digital movement, which was launched in early 2013. As well as the #UpForSchool petition, it also organised the first ever "youth takeover" of the United Nations in July 2013, and has campaigned on the provision of education to children effected by conflict and disaster, particularly including refugees of the Syria crisis in Lebanon.
Brown is also the Founding Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education, the objective of which is to work with business leaders and CEOs to support and galvanise international action to achieve quality education for all the world's children; she is also a member of the High Level Panel for Global Education, initiated by the Coalition.
In 2008 Brown became Global Patron of The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, the grassroots led maternal health advocacy movement, and co-founded the Maternal Mortality Campaign. Her leadership on the issue has been recognised with her appointment as a member of the External Advisory Group of the world-leading Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and as an Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London.
In 2009, Brown gave the keynote speech at the World Health Organisation's 62nd World Health Assembly, alongside United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In her speech she asked "where is the M in MCH?' [maternal and child health]" in an echo of Allan Rosenfield's landmark Lancet article of 1985, highlighting that the numbers of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth were still the same approximately 20 years later.
Brown, with Bience Gawanas, was also co-chair of the Leadership Group on Maternal and Newborn Mortality, launched in September 2009. Jens Stoltenberg, then Prime Minister of Norway, said "We welcome and support the establishment of this important group. Every minute a mother dies in pregnancy or childbirth... [those] women need a strong voice that will bring attention to their plight and push for the support they need."
Brown chaired the launch of the "new Consensus for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health" at a 2009 high level event at the United Nations. At the meeting 10 countries, including Sierra Leone, Ghana and Liberia, declared that they would be dropping medical charges ("user fees") to pregnant women around the time of birth. The Consensus also set out key action steps that research showed could save the lives of more than 10 million women and children by 2015, and that were endorsed by the G8 at their July meeting of that year.
In 2014, Brown helped launch A World at School's #UpForSchool petition – a global campaign started by A World at School's Global Youth Ambassadors – at a youth rally in New York City, alongside Graça Machel, Avaaz founder Ricken Patel, #BringBackOurGirls campaigner Hadiza Bela Usman, CNN anchor Isha Sesay, UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, and messages of support from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and actor Rainn Wilson. The petition aims to hold world leaders to account for the promise of universal primary education made in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG2).
The petition mobilised support and campaigning from a wide variety of organisations and individuals. 2015 Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi headlined the London launch event in November 2015. Other notable supporters and participants include his fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, Justin Bieber, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Laura Carmichael, the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Augustin Matata Ponyo, Education International (the world teacher's union), BRAC, World Vision, Walk Free, Muslim Aid, Avaaz.org, Rovio (who created a special Angry Birds level in support of the petition), and Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi in Pakistan.
As of September 2015 the petition had gathered over 10 million signatories worldwide, at which point it was presented at a joint Theirworld and UNICEF event at the New York Town Hall - a venue associated with the Suffragettes - during the UN General Assembly 2015. The singer and education campaigner Shakira also participated and presented the #UpForSchool petition signatures to the UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, during the same General Assembly.
Throughout her campaigning, Brown has been a leading user of social media to promote the causes of education and maternal health, and has been named on various Twitter and social media 'most influential' lists, including "The eight most influential women tweeters" by Forbes magazine, and the second "most powerful Briton" on Twitter by The Independent.
Brown is the patron of domestic violence charity Women's Aid (from 2004, ongoing in 2013), of Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres (since 2007, ongoing in 2013), and of the SHINE Education Trust.
Brown is also patron of the CBI First Women Awards, which since 2004 have celebrated "pioneering women; successful role-models who have broken new ground and opened up opportunities for other women".
Brown is also a friend of writer J.K. Rowling (who donated £1 million to the Labour Party in 2008), and the two co-authored a children's book for the One Parent Families charity organisation. She is a former patron of Gingerbread.
Brown's strategic leadership on worldwide efforts to save and change the lives of women and children has been recognised with the Vision and Impact Award from the Global Business Coalition for Health, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Global Leadership Award, an Honorary Fellowship from Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Recognition Award from the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, which she was awarded alongside UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet.
In February 2015, it was announced that Sarah Brown would be competing in a second Comic Relief special edition of the The Great British Bake Off television show, alongside David Mitchell, Jameela Jamil, Michael Sheen, Zoella, Jonathan Ross, Joanna Lumley, Jennifer Saunders, Alexa Chung, Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Dame Edna Everage, Chris Moyles, Gok Wan, Abbey Clancy and Lulu, with the Guardian describing the line-up as a "cause for celebration".
Marriage to Gordon Brown
Sarah's relationship with Gordon Brown started after sharing a flight from London to Scotland for the Scottish Labour Party conference in 1994. The relationship was kept secret until 1997, when the News of the World published a picture of them together in a restaurant in London. They were married on 3 August 2000 in Brown's home town, North Queensferry, Fife.
Spouse of the Prime Minister
Gordon Brown became Prime Minister on 27 June 2007, after the resignation of Tony Blair. As wife of the Prime Minister, Sarah Brown was generally viewed favourably. The Guardian noted her public image, describing her as "a truly modern public figure: talkative, empathetic, informal but infinitely connected, ubiquitous as any celebrity, an avid exploiter of new digital media, an expert assembler of charitable and political coalitions", noting "her positive profile could be the best thing Labour has got going for it with the election looming." The Telegraph noted that " It is hard to find people with a bad word to say about Mrs Brown."
Sarah introduced Gordon at the 2008 and 2009 Labour Party Conferences. It was her idea to do so at the 2008 conference, after having seen the similar role Michelle Obama had performed for her husband, the United States President Barack Obama.
According to Anthony Seldon and Guy Lodge, the authors of a book on Gordon's tenure as Prime Minister, Sarah brought stability to both Gordon and his office, and was "a forceful voice in encouraging him to stay on until the very end". That end came following the 2010 general election, which saw no party command an overall majority. The Conservative Party led by David Cameron won the most seats, and on 11 May 2010 formed a government in coalition with the Liberal Democrats after Gordon's attempts to keep Labour in power failed.
Brown published a memoir of her role as the Prime Minister's spouse, entitled Behind the Black Door, through Ebury Press in 2011.
The book received a mixed reception from reviewers. Written in a diary style, the New Statesman referred to it as a "domestic take on politics". While Woman's Own called it "fascinating and endearing", the London Evening Standard described it as "perhaps the dimmest diary ever to have been professionally published" and "one long, formulaic press release in praise of Gordon Brown."
The Telegraph concludes it is a "strange book" and "plea for redemption" though the reviewer decides that Brown's description of the international charity circuit is "fun at last", and that Brown "wins sympathy that boastfulness would have forfeited."
The Irish Independent describes the book as a "disturbingly giddy, schoolgirlish, exclamation mark-littered diary form" and "nothing in the slightest bit revelatory about it... tiptoeingly discreet", but that "Brown comes across in these pages as a decent and likeable" with "enough gossipy details to satisfy star-hungry readers", with Caitlin Moran declaring: "School run, conference call, Obama for tea – Sarah Brown smiled, and tweeted, through it all. I love this woman."
The New Statesman observed that Brown successfully describes "the awkwardness of the lifestyle" and "the vagueness of the position", and that while "political events and what must have been some fairly traumatic personal moments" seem "airbrushed", leaving "the diary feeling a little empty", the book demonstrates how "collision of the political with the personal... jars and is sometimes funny", concluding it is full of "thoughtfulness and... courtesy", "precisely the sort of thing that is genuine Sarah Brown".
Commenting on some of the reaction to the book, David Mitchell noted in the Guardian that "The amount of crap we expect prime ministers' wives to endure, unpaid, for having the temerity to be married to the country's most successful politician is a national disgrace", and The Lady magazine concluded that "whatever reviewers say, she is a natural heroine to the Mumsnet demographic".
- "Sarah Brown". gordonandsarahbrown.com.
- Allison, Rebecca (3 August 2000). "How Macaulay triumphed when so many others failed". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- Andy Beckett (25 September 2009). "Can Sarah Brown rescue Labour?". London: Guardian. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- Home. "Hello! profile". Hellomagazine.com. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- "Independent profile". London: Independent.co.uk. 3 June 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- Seldon, Anthony; Lodge, Guy (2011). Brown at 10. Biteback Publishing.
- Hinsliff, Gary (3 December 2006). "Inside the world of Mrs Brown". The Observer. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- GEORGE PASCOE-WATSON Political Editor (18 December 2008). "PM's wife: My pain as parents split". London: Thesun.co.uk. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- "Sarah Brown reveals trauma of her parents' split as she launches campaign to help broken Britain". London: Dailymail.co.uk. 18 December 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- Max Davidson (6 September 2008). "Town vs gown: north London". Telegraph.co.uk.
- Gaby Hinsliff "Lady in waiting", The Observer, 2 October 2005, Retrieved on 30 March 2008
- "Chancellor's wife to quit full-time work". BBC News. 18 October 2001.
- "University of Edinburgh MRC Centre for Reproductive Health: The Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory". 19 April 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "Launch of the Edinburgh Birth Cohort Study | Upcoming Events |". webcache.googleusercontent.com. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Premature babies care study launched by Sarah Brown - BBC News". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Sarah Brown launches £1.5m study into premature births". www.scotsman.com. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Sarah Brown launches £1.5m premature babies care study - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Sarah Brown launches £1.5 million premature babies care study". www.thecourier.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Sarah Brown launches £1.5m premature babies care study". Mail Online. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "RESULTS | Blog | Malala and Youth Take Over the UN on July 12". www.results.org. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "United Nations Girls' Education Initiative - Global Section - Malala Day: UN Youth Takeover". UNGEI. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown". Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Official Website, accessed 28 March 2013
- "LSTM Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health – EAG". Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "Imperial College Institute of Global Health Innovation: "Sarah Brown joins the Institute"". 4 April 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- "Leaders urge World Health Assembly to invest in maternal health and health systems". World Health Oganisation. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
- "Keynote address to 62nd World Health Assembly, Sarah Brown, Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood". 19 May 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
- "The World Post: A Changing Tide of Opinion for Girls and Women". 24 September 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
- "Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad): New leadership group will spearhead drive against maternal mortality". 13 March 2009. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
- Brown, Sarah (2011). Behind the Black Door. Ebury Press. pp. rear cover. ISBN 9780091940584.
- "World Health Organisation: Investing in Our Common Future: Healthy Women, Healthy Children, Quotes and Commitments". WHO. 23 September 2009. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- Brown, Sarah (21 September 2014). "Rising #UpForSchool". Huffington Post. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- Cowood, Fiona (22 September 2014). "58 million children are out of school – let's do something about it". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "SARAH BROWN'S MOTHERS' DAY TREAT". House Beautiful. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- "From Downing Street power brunches to bedroom bundles: How Gordon Brown's family has finally softened the fearsome politician known as 'The Big Clunking Fist'". The Daily Mail. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- "Nobel Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi headlines the #UpForSchool youth rally in London". A World at School. 18 November 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "Digital Campaign of the Week: #UpforSchool". www.thirdsector.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Desmond Tutu helps #UpForSchool Petition reach six million signatures | A World At School". www.aworldatschool.org. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Downton’s Lady Edith helps Syria’s war-ravaged refugee children". mirror. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- US, HELLO!. "'Downton Abbey' star Laura Carmichael visits with children in Syrian refugee camps". us.hellomagazine.com. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Young people in DRC stand #UpForSchool at petition launch". A World at School. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "Campaign to Stand Up For School". NASUWT. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "Universal children's day: a long way ahead". Education International. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "Angry Birds get political with #UpForSchool education petition". pocketgamer.biz. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
- "Education Youth Ambassadors mobilize people on Upforschool and end child marriages". pakobserver.net. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
- "A New Beginning for Children". The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Victory for the world’s children". The Hindu. 2015-10-12. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "10 million signatures handed in to the UN". The Partners. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "#UpForSchool Town Hall blog: 10 million people stand up for education | A World At School". www.aworldatschool.org. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Shakira presents the UN Special Envoy for Education Gordon Brown,...". Getty Images. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Shakira delivers #UpForSchool’s 10 million signatures to UN education envoy | A World At School". www.aworldatschool.org. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
- "Forbes: The eight most powerful woman tweeters". 6 February 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- "The Independent: The Twitter 100: No 1 to 10". 1 March 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- www.maggiescentres.org "Sarah Brown", accessed 28 March 2013
- Sarah Brown (11 November 2006). "Why I want you to get behind Maggie's". The Scotsman.
- "SHINE Education Trust". Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "Meet Britain's most pioneering business women". 21 April 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "The First Women Awards" (PDF). Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "Stephanie Wray shortlisted for First Women Awards". Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Ben Leach (20 September 2008). "Harry Potter author JK Rowling gives £1 million to Labour". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
- "Gordon's women". London: The Guardian. 13 May 2007. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
- Lisa Aziz (17 April 2010). "Does my hair smell of paint? An intimate portrait of Sarah Brown and what really happens behind Downing Street's closed doors". Daily Mail. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- "Global Business Coalition for Health, Education, Access and Technology Lead the Field for the 2011 GBC Business Action on Health Awards". 29 May 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Rahim, Kanani (12 July 2011). "Forbes – Sarah Brown and the Fight for Global Maternal and Newborn Health". Forbes. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "RCOG at XX FIGO World Congress". 10 October 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Congress opens in Rome". 12 October 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "Sarah Brown joins host of stars for The Great British Comic Relief Bake Off to keep her sons sweet". Daily Record. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- "Zoella and Dame Edna join Celebrity Bake Off". BBC. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- John, Waite (4 February 2015). "Comic Relief Great British Bake Off: who will win?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- "The 2015 Great Comic Relief Bake Off celebrity lineup is cause for celebration". The Guardian. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- Gaby Hinsliff (3 December 2006). "Inside the world of Mrs Brown". The Observer (London: The Guardian).
- "Snapper grabs photo of Chancellor with woman!". The Independent (findarticles.com). 29 June 1997.[dead link]
- "Gordon and Sarah wed at home". BBC News. 3 August 2000.
- "Chancellor becomes a father". BBC News. 28 December 2001.
- "Browns' baby dies in hospital". BBC News. 7 January 2002.
- Nicholas Watt (12 February 2010). "Gordon Brown opens his heart on his baby's death, Sarah's bravery, and Blair | Politics". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
- "Browns celebrate baby boy". BBC News. 17 October 2003.
- "Brown names new baby James Fraser". BBC News. 18 July 2006.
- "Brown's son has cystic fibrosis". BBC News. 26 November 2006.
- Emma Griffiths (21 September 2008). "PM's wife is a hit on the fringe". BBC News. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
- Liz Hunt (30 July 2008). "What Sarah Brown could learn from Cherie Blair". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 23 September 2008.
- "Sarah Brown: The new 'first lady'". BBC News. 28 June 2007. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
- "The Guardian". 25 September 2009. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- "The Reinvention of Sarah Brown". London: The Guardian. 24 September 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
- "The Telegraph". 6 May 2009. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- "Sarah Brown hails 'hero' Gordon at Labour Party conference". The Telegraph. 29 September 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- Sarah Brown (2011). Behind the Black Door. Ebury Press. ISBN 9780091940577.
- "Behind the Black Door". New Statesman. 17 March 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- David Sexton (10 March 2011), "Behind the Black Door is inobservant, imperceptive and dull", London Evening Standard. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- Tanya Gold (5 March 2011), "Behind the Black Door by Sarah Brown: review", The Telegraph. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- "The Telegraph". 21 February 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- "Review: Behind The Black Door by Sarah Brown", Irish Independent, 5 March 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
- "New Statesman, Behind the Black Door, Alice Miles". 17 March 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- "The Guardian, "So Sarah Brown didn't make Gordon a boiled egg and soldiers. Get over it"". 27 February 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- "Random House". Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Official Website of the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown
- Global Business Coalition for Education
- A World at School
|Spouse of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom