Women in The House of Commons

Women in the House of Commons is a relatively new concept. 100 years ago there were no women at all. Today a quarter of MP’s in the House of Commons are women. The House of Lords has about a fifth of its membership as women.


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Nancy Astor became the first woman in the House of Commons in 1919. The first woman in the House of Lords had to wait until 1958. Even though the Equal Franchise Act was passed in 1928, giving women equal voting rights to men.  The 1929 general election had 16 female MPs being elected. In 2010 there where 143 women in the House of Commons.

For more information about women in politics click here.

Key dates

1919 – First female MP to sit in Parliament, Nancy Astor

1979 – First female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher

1982 – First female leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Janet Mary Young

1992 – First female Speaker of the House of Commons, Betty Boothroyd

2006 – The first Lord Speaker, Baroness Hayman