Frances Gertrude Claire D’Souza, Baroness D’Souza, CMG, PC is a British scientist and Lord Temporal. She was previously Lord Speaker, having held the office from 1 September 2011 to 31 August 2016.
She has a wide array of interests and has actively participated in the spheres of human rights and development, House of Lords reform, gender equality and how to access to information. Frances Gertrude Claire Russell went to University College London to read anthropology, graduating BSc in 1970. She subsequently undertook further study at Lady Margaret Hall, obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (D.Phil.) in 1976 from the University of Oxford. She worked for the Nuffield Institute of COMPARATIVE REPRODUCTIVE PHYSIOLOGY from 1973–77, Oxford Polytechnic (now Oxford Brookes University) from 1977–80, and was an independent research consultant for the United Nations from 1985-88. D’Souza was created a Lord Temporal as Baroness D’Souza, of Wychwood in the County of Oxfordshire, on 1 July 2004. She sat as a crossbencher in the House of Lords, where she was the Convenor of the Crossbench Peers from 2007 to 2011 with attendance “well above average”. On 13 July 2011, D’Souza was elected Lord Speaker of the House of Lords and began her new role on September 2011. D’Souza’s term as Lord Speaker ended on 31 August 2016.
After returning to the crossbenches she called for urgent action to address the growing size of the House of Lords, including limits on the Prime Minister’s patronage power. In the Baroness’ non-political career her honourable involvements are spanned throughout a vast amount developments such as: Ford Foundation research fellow in comparative reproductive physiology at Nuffield Institute of Comparative Medicine 1973-77 Part-time lecturer, London School of Economics 1973-80 Senior lecturer, department of humanities, Oxford Polytechnic 1977-80 Founder director and research director, International Relief and Development Institute 1977-85 Independent research consultant for UN, Save the Children Fund, Ford Foundation 1985-88; Research fellow, Overseas Development Administration 1988-89 Executive director, Article 19 anti-censorship organisation 1989-98 Redress Trust: Director 2003-04,Consultant 2004-06 The David Nott Foundation, Chair 2016 Co-founder, Marefat High School, Kabul, Afghanistan 2002 – present.