The House appoints tomorrow the members of four ad hoc committees established for this session – on the Equality Act 2010 (looking at the impact on people with disabilities), Sexual Violence in Conflict, Social Mobility, and the Built Environment. What is notable is that each is being chaired by a female peer – Baroness Deech (cross-bencher), Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne (Lib Dem), Baroness Corston (Lab) and Baroness O’Cathain (Con) respectively. The first three also have a majority of women peers as members.
The House has been notable for the leadership positions held by women peers. Both elected Lord Speakers have been female, five of the past eight Leaders of the House have been female, and one woman peer has just succeeded another as Leader of the Opposition. We thus now have the three leadership positions of Lord Speaker, Leader of the House, and Leader of the Opposition held by women. Although the result of the general election has meant the proportion of women members is greater in the Commons than in the Lords, the Commons has yet to match the Lords in terms of the combination of leadership positions held by women.