Brenda Dean, The Rt. Hon. Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde PC FRSA

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A woman wearing a black blazer standing over a desk with her hands to either side of a notebook. A pen and a pair of glasses rest on top of the notebook.
Photograph © Anita Corbin


First Woman to head a major union – SOGAT

June 2011, TUC Congress House, London

b.1943, Salford. d.2018

In 1985, British trade unionist Baroness Dean was elected General Secretary of SOGAT (Society of Graphical and Allied Trades). At 42 this made her the first woman in trade union history – a history that began in the 17th century – to head a major union. Baroness Dean was one of the best known trade union leaders and became a Labour life peer in 1993 at the age of 50. She went on to be the first woman to sit on the board of national air traffic control, to chair the Armed Forces Pay Review and to chair the Housing Corporation among many other national achievements.

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