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Women’s rights campaigner and nature expert made life peers

A leading women’s rights campaigner and an internationally-recognised nature expert are to be appointed to the House of Lords (Eddie Mulholland/The Daily Telegraph/PA)
A leading women’s rights campaigner and an internationally-recognised nature expert are to be appointed to the House of Lords (Eddie Mulholland/The Daily Telegraph/PA)

A leading women’s rights campaigner and an internationally-recognised nature expert have been appointed to the House of Lords.

Shaista Gohir and Professor Katherine Willis will sit on the crossbenches, meaning they will not be affiliated with any party.

They have been recommended by the independent House of Lords Appointments Commission, with the move approved by the Prime Minister and the Queen, but they are yet to be formally introduced to the House.

Ms Gohir is a women’s rights campaigner and highly influential Muslim woman, who heads up the national award-winning charity Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK).

Her achievements have included setting up the national Muslim Women’s Network Helpline.

Victoria Tower, part of the Palace of Westminster in London (John Walton/PA)
Victoria Tower, part of the Palace of Westminster in London (John Walton/PA)

Ms Gohir also successfully challenged the Foreign Office policy on charging 16 to 17-year-old forced marriage victims repatriation fees, which was scrapped in 2017.

In 2021 she founded a new charity, the Nisa Global Foundation, to help women and girls in developing countries.

Prof Willis is an internationally recognised expert on nature and the relationship between biodiversity, climate change and human wellbeing.

She is currently professor of biodiversity in the department of zoology and principal of St Edmund Hall at the University of Oxford.

Prof Willis previously served on the UK’s Natural Capital Committee, which advised the Government on ecosystems, soils, freshwaters, and oceans.

She played a key role in providing detailed analysis and scrutiny of the scientific evidence-base underpinning the Government’s 25-Year environment plan.