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Women in Tynwald

House of Keys

Women have been able to stand for election to the House of Keys since 1919, when universal adult suffrage was introduced.
 
The first woman to be elected was Mrs Marion Shimmin at a by-election in 1933 caused by the death of her husband Christopher. Mrs Shimmin was elected unopposed.
 
Five women were elected to the Keys in the 2016 election.  This is the highest number of female MHKs at any one time. 
 
For a short period between January 1975 and November 1976 there were four female Members (one sixth) of the House. 

Legislative Council

Betty Hanson, a former MHK, was the first woman to be elected to the Legislative Council in 1982. Since then, three other women have served as MLCs: Clare Christian from 1993 to 2011, Pamela Crowe from 2003 to 2008, and Jane Poole-Wilson from 2017 to date. Mrs Poole-Wilson is the first woman MLC who has not previously been an MHK.

Presiding Officers

In 2011, Clare Christian, a former MHK and sitting MLC, was elected as President of Tynwald. 
 
There has not yet been a Madam Speaker of the House of Keys, but Hazel Hannan served as Deputy Speaker between 2004 and 2006.
 

Profiles

Click the names of the Members below to read about each of the women who have served as MHKs and MLCs:

​Member​ ​Chamber​ ​​Constituency ​Term of Office
​​Marion Shimmin ​House of Keys ​Peel ​1933-1942
​Annie Bridson ​House of Keys Garff ​1951-1956
​Jean Thornton-Duesbury ​House of Keys Garff ​1966-1976
​Katharine Cowin ​House of Keys ​East Douglas ​1971-1976
​Elizabeth (Elspeth) Quayle ​House of Keys ​Castletown ​1971-1981
Betty Hanson

​House of Keys

Legislative Council

West Douglas

​1974-1982

MLC: 1982-1988

Clare Margaret Christian

​House of Keys

Legislative Council

​Ayre

​1980-1986

MLC: 1993-2016

President of Tynwald: 2011-2016

​Julia Delaney ​​House of Keys ​Douglas North ​1986-1991
​Hazel Hannan ​​House of Keys Peel ​1986-2006
​Brenda Josephine Cannell ​​House of Keys ​Douglas East ​1996-2015 (resigned)
​Pamela Mavis Crowe

​House of Keys

Legislative Council

​Rushen

​1996-2003

MLC: 2003-2008

​Anne Valerie Craine ​​House of Keys Ramsey ​2003-2011
​Kathleen Joan Beecroft ​​House of Keys Douglas South ​2011-date
​Clare Louise Bettison ​​House of Keys ​Douglas East ​2016-date
​Daphne Hilary Penelope Caine ​House of Keys Garff ​2016-date
​Catherine Ann Corlett ​House of Keys ​Douglas Central ​2016-date
Julie Marie Edge ​​House of Keys ​Onchan ​2016-date
​Jane Poole-Wilson Legislative Council ​n/a ​2017-date
 
  
Read more about the changes in legislation that allowed women to stand for election: Votes for Women
 
Read more about the changes in legislation that allowed women to Vote in an election: Votes for Women