Sood Councilor, UK's first woman mayor
Leicester, UK, May 09, 2008
NRI Manjula Sood, presently Councilor, has been elected the Lord
Mayor of Leicester and is looking forward to serve the citizens
of Leicester and represent the City as its First Citizen from Thursday
May 15th 2008. Councillor Sood, Indian- born will be the first Asian
female Lord Mayor in the United Kingdom and is honoured to have
received the accolade.
She said "I like to take this opportunity to thank my constituents
and the Leicester community as a whole for all your help and support
during my time as an Elected Mayor. Since the sudden death of my
husband, my sons and I have found it difficult but with your support
I have been able to carry out my duties as an Elected Member."
She was elected City Councillor for the ward of Latimar, in Leicester
East following the sudden tragic death of her husband the late Councillor
Paul Sood in 1996. She have been an elected sitting councillor for
over 10 years. Prior to politics, she was a school teacher for almost
She was heavily involved within the local community and her efforts
were the driving force for the Labour Party Merit Award in 2004
and Leicestershire and Rutland Women of the Year 2006 Award. She
have lived in Leicester for over 38 years and have two sons.
Councillor and now Mayor, Sood holds a BA and MA. During her PHD
in India, she was part of a high profile research programme with
the world renowned John Hopkins University. Unfortunately, after
two years in to her PHD, she took a sabbatical due to her marriage
and did not have the opportunity to complete this.
Sood arrived in the UK in 1970 and has been living in Leicester
ever since. Once in Leicester, Councillor Sood attended Leicester
University where she completed her Post graduate training in teaching
and upon qualifying, Councillor Sood was a primary school teacher
for almost 20 years which, was a benchmark at the time, as she was
one of the first Asian female teacher in Leicester in 1973. She
was instrumental in introducing multiculturalism in to local education
and her services were recognised by a visit to her class by the
then Secretary of Education, the Late Sir Keith Joseph.
She entered politics through supporting her late husband, Councillor
Paul Sood in his political career. Paul was one of the first ethnic
County Councillor’s in the country when he was elected in
1982 and served the citizens of Leicester for almost 14 years before
his untimely death in 1996. Councillor Manjula Sood stood and won
with an impressive majority at Paul's by-election, setting a precedence
by becoming Leicester City’s first female Hindu Councillor.
She faced and successfully overcame many challenges during her
early political career, as she had to juggle learning politics with
supporting her two children and looking after her elderly mother.
She quickly adapted and has flourished and achieved an array of
accolades and commanded the respect of her fellow Councillor’s
and the community of Leicester City.
She has worked with many MPs during her political career, The Right
Hon. Patricia Hewitt, former Minister for Health, The Right Hon.
Keith Vaz (former Minister of State for Europe), the Late Jim Marshall,
Sir Peter Soulsby and Lord Janner QC.
Manjula Sood has received the following awards/accolades during
her political career:
- Leicester and Rutland Women of the Year Award for 2006, the
first Asian Women to receive the prestigious award
- The Labour Party Merit Award 2004 for contribution to the Labour
Party. The first Asian women to attain the honourable award
- Listed in Red Hot Curry's top 300 most influential Asian women
in the UK 2002 Triangular Media Group Global Award for outstanding
contribution to local politics 2006
- Honorary LABA (Leicestershire Asian Business Association) Honorary
Award for assistance to small businesses 2002
- Finalist for the AWA Award for Work in the Public Sector, 2007
- Finalist for the Lloyds TSB Jewell Awards, Midlands Section,
- One of the first female Asian primary school teacher in Leicester
- Leicester City's first Hindu female Asian elected Councillor,
a position held since 1996 UK’s first Asian female High
- First Asian Female to receive the Leicester and Rutland Women
of the Year Award for 2006
In 2007, NRI
Harjit Gill became first Asian Mayor of Gloucester city