Ladies Who Impress in the House of Lords

Jana Bakunina at the House of LordsLast month Baroness Elizabeth Barker invited me for tea at the House of Lords(!), and we talked about life peers and an impostor syndrome.

Members of the House of Lords are not elected but appointed (by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister). Liberal Democrat Elizabeth Barker did not see it coming when she was asked to join the House of Lords in 1999.

“Life peers are extremely knowledgeable in their areas of their expertise, be it healthcare or law or education. In the House of Lords we get a chance to go through the proposed legislation in much greater detail and challenge it, if necessary.”

¬†“Yet, despite my experience in consulting, corporate social responsibility, change management and policy, it took me a while to recognise my own achievements and power as a life peer to make a difference.”

Why is it that self-doubt is common even among high-achieving women? Instead of making the most of the opportunities and marching forward, we question ourselves and feel out of depth. If this sounds familiar, you might like the Guardian article, suggesting that the best remedy against the impostor syndrome is to share our experiences and talk about our insecurities. In particular, it makes a difference when an inspiring role model admits to feeling vulnerable at times.

Baroness Barker is proud to be working on issues affecting underrepresented groups such as the LGBT community or mental health sufferers. As a lesbian, she was particularly interested in the success of the same sex marriage bill.

At the end of my visit I spent a few minutes in the debating chamber. I was pleased to see that one third of the members present were women.

Baroness BarkerBaroness Elizabeth Barker at the House of Lords

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