AOUG Chancellor Baroness Boothroyd Award for Citizenship, Identities and Governance

Baroness Boothroyd was Chancellor of The Open University from 1995 to 2006. She was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, to textile workers. Betty Boothroyd was educated at council schools and went on to study at Dewsbury College of Commerce and Art. In the 1940s, Betty Boothroyd enjoyed a career as a dancer, but she decided to follow a career in politics instead, having been a member of the Labour Party since her teens. During the 1950s, Betty Boothroyd spent time working in the House of Commons as a secretary and political assistant to various Members of Parliament, including Barbara Castle. She contested parliamentary seats at Leicester South East (1957) and Peterborough (1959) before travelling to the United States in 1960 to witness the Kennedy campaign. She subsequently began work in Washington as a legislative assistant for an American congressman, 1960-1962.

When Betty Boothroyd returned to London she continued her work as secretary and political assistant to various senior Labour politicians. In 1965 she was elected to a seat on Hammersmith Borough Council, where she remained until 1968, before winning a seat in 1973 as the Labour candidate for West Bromwich, a position she retained until 2000. Betty Boothroyd’s career then flourished. In 1974 she was appointed an assistant Government Whip and she was a Member of the European Parliament from 1975 to 1977. In 1979 she became a member of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, until 1981, and of the Speaker’s Panel of Chairmen, until 1987. She was also a member of the Labour Party National Executive Committee from 1981 to 1987 and the House of Commons Commission from 1983 to 1987.

In 1987 Betty Boothroyd was elected Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, the first Labour woman to be voted in as Deputy Speaker. In 1992 she was elected Speaker, the first ever female Speaker, with a majority of 134 votes over Peter Brooke. She retained this position until her retirement in 2000. In 2001 she was created a Life Peer, taking as her title Baroness Boothroyd of Sandwell in the West Midlands. Baroness Boothroyd donated some of her personal papers to The Open University’s archives and in March 1995 she was awarded an Honorary Degree from The Open University as Doctor of the University. Baroness Boothroyd has also been given an Award of Doctor of Civil Law by City University London (1993) and in April 2005 she was appointed to the Order of Merit, an honour in the personal gift of the Queen.

AOUG wrote to Baroness Boothroyd in 2007 and requested her permission to attach her name to our new Award for Law and we were honoured with a personal acknowledgement of her approval. This Award changed its name from AOUG Chancellor Baroness Boothroyd Award for Law to AOUG Chancellor Baroness Boothroyd Award for Citizenship, Identities and Governance in 2009 following changes within the OU faculties and research centres.

Previous Winners:
2018 Steve Conway
2017 Marie Paludan
2007 Vicky Scobie