The government confirms that the House of Lords will admit women
On this day in 1957 it was announced that one of the most exclusive all-male clubs would open its doors to women. The government’s reforms to the House of Lords would also see the creation of life peers, payment of expenses to peers and balancing new creations between the political parties.
Given the ferocity with which the Lords had fought off previous attempts to introduce women, it was perhaps surprising that cheers greeted the announcement. Lord Home said admitting women would simply be recognizing the place they had commanded for themselves as a right in modern society.
Demonstrating that there was still some way to go in terms of equality of treatment, he also raised a laugh when he added: “Taking women into parliamentary embrace is, after all, only an extension of the normal privileges of a peer.”
Baroness Swanborough took her oath to become the first female member of the House of Lords on 21 October 1958. This time last year, women made up 176 (or 22.8%) out of the 771 eligible members of the House of Lords.