Janet Whitaker, Baroness Whitaker
Janet Alison Whitaker, Baroness Whitaker (born 20 February 1936) is a British politician with the Labour Party.
Born Janet Alison Stewart, she is the daughter of Alan Harrison Stewart and Ella Stewart (née Saunders). She was educated at Nottingham High School for Girls, Girton College, Cambridge in the United Kingdom and at Bryn Mawr College and Harvard University in the United States. In 1964 she married Benjamin Whitaker (1934-2014) a barrister, author and human rights activist, who served a single term as Labour Party MP for Hampstead from 1966-70.
Baroness Whitaker began her career in publishing. She was a Commissioning Editor with Andre Deutsch LTD, a small but influential English publishing house, from 1961 until 1968. From 1974-96 she was with the Employment Department Group. She was then employed by the Commonwealth Secretariat as a consultant for the Commission for Racial Equality (1996–98). She was then with Independent Television Commission (ITC) starting in 1999, serving as the Deputy Chair from 2001 to 2003. Overlapping that time, she was a professional consultant to the Committee of Reference for Friends Provident insurance company from 1999-08.
In June 1999, she was included in Tony Blair's new list of working peers in recognition of a career in publishing and the civil service. She was created a Life Peer on 5 August 1999 taking the title Baroness Whitaker, of Beeston in the County of Nottinghamshire.
She joined the House of Lords on 5 August 1999. Since then, the Baroness has sat on multiple committees, including Home Affairs, Human Rights, and Intergovernmental Organisations. Her focus within the UK is East Sussex and Nottingham. She was an International Development Liaison Peer from 1999 to 2007 and served as Vice-Chair of the UK Parliamentary Labour Party International Development Committee. She chaired the Design in Public Procurement Inquiry (2009) and the Design Education Inquiry (2011). Baroness Whitaker lists her political interests as architecture and design, international development and race relations.
The Baroness is an active voice for humanism in the House of Lords. Contributions include amending Bills to widen their scope beyond classic religion to include belief and values; Bills so amended include the Communications Bill, Asylum Bill, Charities Bill 2005, Equality Bill, Education and Inspections Bill. She is also Vice-President of the British Humanist Association. The Baroness is also a member of the Advisory Board for the British Institute of Human Rights.
Baroness Whitaker is an "invaluable resource" to the United Nations Association – UK, the independent policy authority on the UN in the UK. She serves as an international development expert on their Virtual advisory panel and is a member of the All‐Party Parliamentary Group on the United Nations (UN APPG) from the House of Lords.
Ms. Whitaker, and later Baroness Whitaker, has served the local community in a number of ways. She was a Magistrate from 1984 until 2001. She was a member of the Employment Tribunal from 1995 to 2000. From 1996 to 1999 she served on the Camden Racial Equality Council, first as Deputy Chair and then as Chair. Currently, she is president of the South Downs Society, a group dedicated to preserving the chalk hills.
Professional, educational, and humanitarian affiliations
- British Institute of Human Rights: Advisory Board, 2005-
- Employment Tribunal: member, 1995-2000
- Immigration Complaints Audit Committee: 1998-99
- One World Trust: Vice President and former Trustee
- Overseas Development Institute: Council Member, 2003-
- Royal Institute of British Architects: Fellow
- South Downs Society: President
- Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust: Non-executive Director, 1997-2001
- Transparency International (UK): former member of the Advisory Council, 2001-20??
- UNICEF UK (United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF): Trustee
- United Nations Association – UK: member of Virtual advisory panel, member of the Lords' All‐Party Parliamentary Group
- Working Men's College Corporation: Chair of the Board 1999-2002, Emeritus Governor, Fellow of the College, and Sponsor/Patron
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Biography: Baroness Janet Whitaker was created a Life Peer in 1999 after a career in publishing and the civil service, where her last post carried national and international responsibility for gender discrimination; this included leading the national delegation to the Fourth UN Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. Baroness Whitaker was a member of the Select Committee on the European Union subcommittee on social policy and migration, the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the draft Corruption Bill. She is currently Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party International Development Committee and the Labour Party International Development Liaison Peer. She is also a member of the Advisory Council of Transparency International UK; the Council of the Overseas Development Institute; and the Advisory Board of the British Institute of Human Rights. She is a trustee of UNICEF UK and Vice-President of the One World Trust. In addition to her role as Vice-Chair of the UN All-Party Group, Baroness Whitaker is Vice-Chair of the All-Party Groups on Overseas Development and on Ethiopia.
- The London Gazette: . 10 August 1999.
- Honeyball, Mary. "Baroness Janet Whitaker of Beeston". Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- "Vice Presidents". One World Trust. 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
Baroness Whitaker was created a Life Peer in 1999 after a career in publishing and the civil service. She is currently Vice-Chair of the UK Parliamentary Labour Party International Development Committee, and a member of the Council of the Overseas Development Institute and of the Advisory Board of the British Institute of Human Rights. She is a trustee of UNICEF UK, a member of the UNA-UK Advisory Panel and formerly a Trustee of the One World Trust.
- "Baroness Whitaker: Former civil servant, Labour life peer since 1999, vice-president of the BHA". British Humanist Association. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- "Ms Janet Whitaker". HANSARD 1803–2005. UK Parliament. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Virtual advisory panel". United Nations Association - UK (UNA-UK). Retrieved 23 July 2013.
- "UN APPG members". United Nations Association - UK (UNA-UK). Retrieved 23 July 2013.
- WMC, The Camden College: PROSPECTUS 2012/13 (PDF), Working Men's College, 2012
- Names of Governors in alphabetical order, Working Men's College Corporation, 2011, retrieved 24 July 2013
- "150th Year Appeal". Working Men's College. 2004. Retrieved 24 July 2013.