Almost 10 years ago, in early spring 2004, I was one of 14 women appointed to the House of Lords. At the same time, 33 men were appointed.
There had been high hopes for increasing the number of women in parliament in the late 1990s. The Labour government had come to power in 1997 with 101 female MPs, making a major contribution to the 120 women elected to the House of Commons that year. This was a substantial increase on the previous general election, and although the much-used term "Blair Babes" signalled a lack of respect for women MPs from all political parties, there was an expectation that these numbers heralded greater female participation in parliament and beyond. Some 16 years later, and the lack of women in leadership roles is still painfully evident.