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Composition of Tynwald

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 women MHKs at any one time. For a short period between January 1975 and November 1976 there were four women Members of the House. 

Legislative Council

Women have been able to stand for election to the Legislative Council since 1961. 
Betty Hanson, a former MHK, was the first woman to be elected to the Legislative Council in 1982. From then until 2018, three other women served as MLCs: Clare Christian from 1993 to 2011, Pamela Crowe from 2003 to 2008, and Jane Poole-Wilson from 2017 to 2018. Mrs Poole-Wilson was the first woman MLC who had not previously been an MHK.
Five women were elected to the Council in 2018. This is the highest number of women MLCs at any one time. 

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.

Chairs of Parliamentary Committees

In 2011, the parliamentary committee system was reformed with the introduction of the Policy Review Committees.  Since then, the following women have been elected to chair Standing Committees:
​Name ​Committee ​Term of Office
Brenda Cannell MHK​ ​Social Affairs Policy Review Committee ​2011-2015
​Jane Poole-Wilson MLC ​Constitutional, Legal Affairs and Justice Committee ​2017-2018, 2018-date
​Julie Edge MHK ​Social Affairs Policy Review Committee ​2020-date
​Clare Barber MHK ​Environment and Infrastructure Policy Review Committee ​2020-date


The ministerial system was introduced in 1986.  The following women have served as Ministers since then:
​Name ​Department ​Term of Office
​Hazel Hannan MHK ​Education ​1991-1995
​Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry ​1995-1999
​Clare Christian MLC ​Health and Social Security ​1996-2004
​Pamela Crowe MHK/MLC ​Local Government and the Environment ​2002-2004
​Anne Craine MHK ​ ​Education ​2006-2020
​Treasury ​2010-2011
​Kate Costain MHK ​Health and Social Care ​2016-2018


Click the names of the Members below to read about the women who have served as MHKs and MLCs. Members are listed chronologically, in the order in which they were sworn into office.   

​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


MLC: 1982-1988

Clare Christian

​House of Keys

Legislative Council



MLC: 1993-2016

President of Tynwald: 2011-2016

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

​House of Keys

Legislative Council



MLC: 2003-2008

​Anne Craine ​​House of Keys Ramsey ​2003-2011
Kate Costain ​​House of Keys Douglas South ​2011-2020 (resigned)
​Ann Corlett ​House of Keys ​Douglas Central ​2016-date
Clare Barber (nee Bettison) ​​House of Keys ​Douglas East ​2016-date
​Daphne Caine ​House of Keys Garff ​2016-date
Julie Marie Edge ​​House of Keys ​Onchan ​2016-date
​Jane Poole-Wilson Legislative Council ​n/a ​2017-date
​Marlene Maska ​Legislative Council ​n/a ​2018-date
​Tanya August-Hanson ​Legislative Council ​n/a ​2018-date
Kate Lord-Brennan ​Legislative Council ​n/a ​2018-date
​Kerry Sharpe ​Legislative Council ​n/a ​2018-date
Claire Christian ​House of Keys ​Douglas South ​2020-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