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CONTROVERSIAL Midland MP Clare Short has been named one of the world's most inspirational women.

The former Labour minister has been ranked alongside fashion designer Zandra Rhodes and broadcaster Esther Rantzen in the international list of 200 women.

Those honoured are drawn from 60 countries and also include Amma the 'hugging saint' from Kerala, India, and the first female judge in the Middle East, Iraqi MP Zakia Hakki.

Author Zerbanoo Gifford compiled the listing for the book Confessions to a Serial Womaniser - Secrets of the World's Inspirational Women.

She says it contains the "wisdom of the world's most dynamic women, who speak frankly about everything: their mothers, families, education, men, gurus, love, feminism, fairystories, failures and successes.

"In an era of celebrity, this is a celebration of true celebrities - women who will leave a lasting legacy enriching the lives of future generations."

Ms Short, now an Independent MP for Ladywood, Birmingham, is featured as a "mother, politician and feminist".

Her entry states: "Clare Short is best known as one of Britain's most famous and fiery women politicians.

"She has always staked her political career and reputation on making a difference to the lives of others and even left her position in the British Government over the Iraq war.

"However, Clare's most surprising announcement came in 2003 when she was reunited with her son, given up for adoption 31 years earlier. Despite all her political success, the reunion with her son Toby, a city lawyer, proved to be Clare's most significant life moment."

Ms Short's campaign against Page Three girls and her multiple resignations are also noted in the book when discussing her political career.

She resigned twice from the Labour frontbench over the Prevention of Terrorism Act in 1988 and quit again over the Gulf War in 1990.

She was appointed Secretary of State for International Development in 1997 but resigned from the Labour Government over Iraq in May 2003.

Her entry states: "No-one can doubt the conviction that has underpinned Clare's political career and her unshakeable will to make a difference.

"However, like other women who have entered politics with high humanitarian ideals, her disappointment is palpable."

Ms Short's feminist stance is also lauded in the book.

It states: "Clare Short put forward a strong argument for feminism as an inclusive movement that worked for equality and social justice...

"There is still a long way to travel before such goals can be achieved, but a determined focus on women's worth remains much alive."

Ms Gifford was presented with the International Woman of the Year award for her humanitarian work. She also holds the Nehur Centenary Award for championing the rights of women, children and minorities.

To mark the launch of the book on September 20, a display of specially commissioned portraits of the women will go on display at the National Portrait Gallery on September 17.

Confessions to a Serial Womaniser, published by PHACT, is priced pounds 12.99.


INSPIRATION: Clare Short, Zandra Rhodes and Esther Rantzen
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Sep 9, 2007
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