Baroness Shephard of Northwold

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Biographical Information

"Gillian Shephard was born in Norfolk where she still lives. After reading Modern Languages at Oxford, she became an education officer and then a county councillor in her native county. She lectured for the WEA from 1965 to 1987, and is now a WEA Patron. She was elected to Parliament as the Conservative MP for South West Norfolk in 1987. Two years later, she became Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department of Social Security. In 1990, when John Major became Prime Minister, she became Minister of State at the Treasury, the first woman to hold that post. In 1992, she entered the Major Cabinet as Secretary of State for Employment and Britain’s first Minister for Women’s Issues. Three more Cabinet posts followed, Agriculture, Education and Education and Employment. She became a peer in 2005, and has served as Chairman of the Association of Conservative Peers, on the Lords Reform Select Committee, and currently on the Social Care Select Committee.

"She is currently Chair of the Council of the Institute of Education in London, and a Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk. She was awarded the Legion d’Honneur in 2009. She holds honorary fellowships at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, Queen Mary University of London, and the Royal Veterinary College, and is a former president of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association. She has written four books, two devoted to politics, and two to a social history of her village birth place, written in collaboration with fifty people with whom she was at primary school."[1]


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  1. Workers' Educational Association Patrons, organizational web page, accessed May 11, 2013.
  2. Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission , Gov, accessed July 13, 2015.