Cherie Blair is a leading human rights lawyer, a passionate campaigner for women's equality and wife of Tony Blair. Her determination to help women overcome discrimination and prejudice has seen her visit and speak in many countries. Having herself combined a demanding career with bringing up four children, she also actively promotes policies and initiatives to improve work-life balance for women and men.
The New York Times wrote: "Cherie Blair is viewed as something of a wonder woman for her ability to balance her high-powered professional life, high-visibility public life and intensely consuming private life." Her husband when Prime Minister said his wife was "...an enormous source of strength and an extraordinary person in her own right. I never know how she manages with all the different things she does - the work, the family."
There was nothing in Cherie's background to suggest such a distinguished career. But having been brought up by a single mother in a modest home in Liverpool, she won a place at the London School of Economics. She graduated with first class honours in law and went on to top the class in her Bar examinations.
She met and married Tony Blair in 1980 when they were both lawyers. They now have four children, the youngest, Leo, being the first born to a serving Prime Minister for over a century. Cherie continued her legal career while bringing up a family and in 1995 was appointed Queen's Counsel as senior trial lawyers in the United Kingdom are known. Cherie specialises in employment and human rights law and is regularly asked to appear in courts abroad. She also serves as a part-time judge.
During Tony Blair's decade as Prime Minister, she was often at his side at international summits, on official trips overseas and during election campaigning. But she also made regular visits on her own as she continues to do. Many of these visits are linked to the charities with which she is associated. Charities which work with children and women are particularly well-represented. She takes a very active role in their work, visiting projects at home and abroad.
Her campaigning on human rights and women's equality led in 2007 to Cherie being awarded the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal. This is bestowed on those judged to "embody the spirit and legacy" of the former US President's wife who chaired the committee which drew up the UN Declaration on Human Rights.
Cherie has co-authored The Goldfish Bowl, a fascinating account of the life in Downing Street from the perspectives of the spouses and families of Prime Ministers who lived there before the Blairs. Her autobiography "Speaking for Myself" was published in May 2008.
Ms. Blair's speech topics include: Human rights for women and children, balancing family and career, charity, public service and legal issues.