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As at 17 February 2021, there were 231 women in the House of Lords out of a gross membership of 829 (these figures include those members currently on leave of absence or disqualified for holding certain offices). The number of female members were made up of:

  • 225 life peers appointed under the Life Peerages Act 1958.
  • One peer appointed under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 (Baroness Hale of Richmond).
  • Five Bishops (following the enactment of the Lords Spiritual (Women) Act 2015).

In total, including Ruth Davidson, who has yet to be made a baroness and join the House, and Baroness Hale of Richmond, 327 female life peers will have been created. These are listed in the table in appendix 1.

The 326 female life peers created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 represents 21% of the total number of life peers created under the act (1,517). The largest number of female life peers was created in the 2010s. The lowest numbers (excluding the short period in the 1950s) were created in the 1960s and the 1980s. Theresa May was the prime minister who appointed the largest proportion of women during her time in office (39.5% of her appointments), and James Callaghan appointed the lowest proportion (8.6%).

In addition, there have been 25 female members who have sat in the House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage; these are listed in the table in appendix 2.

Further information on women in the House of Lords, including historical background to their participation, can be found in the following Library briefings:

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