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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitlePapers of Baroness Beatrice Nancy Seear
Ref No7BNS
LevelCollection
Date1963-1988
Extent7 A boxes
Admin Biographical HistoryBeatrice Nancy Seear (1913-1997) was born in 1913; the daughter of Herbert Charles Seear and Beatrice Maud Catchpole. Beatrice was educated at Croyden High School, Newnham College, Cambridge, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. Beatrice worked as a Personnel Officer at C & J Clark Ltd, the Quaker shoe manufacturers between 1936-1946. Beatrice was also seconded as a part-time member of staff to the Production Efficiency Board, Ministry of Aircraft Production, during 1943-1945. Between 1946-1978, Beatrice was a teacher of, and a Reader in, Personnel Management at LSE and conducted a number of studies on the subject of women's employment. Beatrice retired from LSE in 1978 and was created an Honorary Fellow in 1980.

As a Liberal candidate, Beatrice unsuccessfully contested Hornchurch, 1950 and 1951, Truro, 1955 and 1959, Epping, 1964, Rochdale, 1966, and Wakefield, 1970. She was made a life peer in 1971.
Beatrice was extensively involved in the movement for women's equal pay and equal opportunities. She was approached by Hilda Clinkard and Kathleen Halpin of the Fawcett Society to assist with the campaign for equal pay, resulting in the Equal Pay Bill of 1970. She was later asked by the Department of Employment to monitor the implementation of the act in 1974. In 1972, after the original Anti-Discrimination Bill presented by William Hamilton failed to pass through the House of Commons, the Bill was steered through the House of Lords by Lady Seear as a Private Members Bill and went through several phases, including a Select Committee in the House of Lords, the 1973 consultative document 'Equal Opportunities for Men and Women' and the 1974 white paper 'Equality for Women'. This eventually led to the passing of the Sex Discrimination Bill in 1975. She later studied and published reports on equal opportunities for women in Europe alongside Margary Povell, with particular focus on the banking sector.

The positions she held included: President of the Liberal Party, 1964-1965; President of the Fawcett Society, 1970-1985; Top Salaries Review Board, 1971-1984; Member of Council, Industrial Society, 1972-1984; President of the British Standards Institute, 1974-1977; President of the Women's Liberal Federation, 1974; a member of the Hansard Social Commission on Electoral Reform, 1975-1976; President of the Institute of Personnel Management, 1977-1979; Visiting Professor of Personnel Management, City University, 1980-1987; Leader of the Liberal Party, House of Lords, 1984-1988; and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, House of Lords, 1988-1997. She was also a supporter of the National Council of Single Woman and her dependents, and was prominent in the work of the top salaries' review body and the National Association for the Care and Rehabilitation of Offenders.

Beatrice Nancy Seear died in 1997.
Custodial HistoryThis material was given to Margery Povall, friend and ex-colleague, by Lady Beatrice Nancy Seear.
DescriptionThis archive consists of the working material of Lady Baroness Nancy Seear. It contains material concerning the Equal Pay Bill of 1971 and the Sex Discrimination Bill of 1975, including: parliamentary working papers; parliamentary debates; minutes and agendas; press cuttings; reports and submissions for consultative papers from interested parties (including a number of women's organisations). The archive also includes questionnaires, reports and correspondence relating to women in industrial employment as part of the study 'A Career for Women in Industry' which was published in 1964. Rather than personal papers, the majority of material is actual output as a result of Lady Seear's activities. The majority of the material in the archive dates from 1963-1975.
Publication NoteSeear N. 'Why Choose Industry'. London: London School of Economics, 1959.
Jephcott P., Seear N., Smith J. 'Married Women working.' London: George Allen & Unwin, 1962.
Brock J., Roberts V., Seear N. 'A career for women in industry.' Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1964.
Seear N. 'What we think on questions of interest to women : report of Spring Conference 1965.' London Six Point Group, 1965.
Seear N. 'Policies for incomes'. London: Liberal Publication Department, 1967.
Seear N. 'Re-entry of women to the labour market after an interruption in employment.' London: HMSO, London, 1971.
Seear N. 'The Sex Discrimination Bill.' London: HMSO, 1975.
Seear N. 'Interdependence and survival: population policies and environmental control'. London: Wyndham Place Trust,1976.
Seear N. 'Training: the fulcrum of change'. London: British Association for Commercial and Industrial Education, 1976.
Seear N. 'Fawcett Society symposium : 16-18 the female cul-de-sac '. London: Fawcett Society, London, 1979.
Povell M., Seear N. (eds). 'Equal opportunity in banking : report of the EEC [European Economic Community] seminar held at Knokke, Belgium, Apr 28-30, 1982' . Commission of the European Communities, 1982.
Player E., Seear N. 'Women in the penal system.' Report for the Howard League for Penal Reform, 1986.
Seear N. 'Education: a quantum leap? 'Hebden Bridge: Hebden Royd Publications, 1988.
Related MaterialThe Women's Library holds further material related to Lady Seear, including an interview with her as part of The National Life stories collection (8NLS/04) and an interview transcript as part of the 'Out of the dolls house' project (8ODH/02/08/085). The Women's Library also holds a number of her publications in their printed collections.

The Women's Library also holds material from other groups relating to the campaign for equal opportunities and pay for women. These include records of Women in Media (6WIM) and the Women's Rights Campaign (5WRC).

The London School of Economics also holds some of Lady Seear's papers, which relate to her work with the Runnymeade Industrial Unit, the London Business School Minority Groups, and the Community Relations Commission, as well as material concerning women's employment and equal opportunities (c. 1930-1937). Cambridge University Library holds letters to her family (1932-1935).
Related Record5AOP
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThis collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library @ LSE in advance of their first visit.
Former Reference NumberTH 516-520, TH 233-234
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