Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour has revealed its annual “Power List” of Britain’s female game-changers – and not a politician in sight.
“We on the panel felt that is a clear indicator of two aspects of modern-day Britain,” said Emma Barnett, Women’s Editor of The Telegraph and chair of this year’s judging panel – “how ‘safe’ politics has become and how the power to effect real change in society has shifted away from bureaucratic Westminster. The majority of today’s MPs are focused on upholding the status quo and sadly struggle to be true game-changers.”
In 2013 Home Secretary Theresa May was ranked second most powerful woman in the UK after the Queen. While she didn’t comment on the absence of her colleagues this time round, she paid tribute to this year’s number one: anti-racism Baroness Doreen Lawrence, the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.
“What is most striking about this woman is the great strength that she has shown over the decades,” said May. “Strength to carry on even in the most difficult times when all seemed impossible. Also striking is the persistence that she has shown, because she has never given up. She has dealt with everything with absolute dignity.”
Nor did judge journalist Rachel Johnson – sister of Boris – choose to comment on the lack of politicians.
Whereas last year’s inaugural list sought to identify the 100 most powerful women in the UK, this year’s singles out ten game-changers instead. “The ambition for this year’s list was to capture a snapshop of a moment in time,” explained Barnett “– of those particular ‘games’ in 2014 that need changing and the women making a real difference in those fields.”
Also on the list was the founder of Magic Breakfast, a charity that provides breakfast for schoolchildren; the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, a website that catalogues instances of sexism; the chief executive of Girl Guiding UK; and outspoken journalist and author Caitlin Moran. Leyla Hussein and Nimco Ali were jointly selected for their campaign against female genital mutilation. Only one woman was chosen for a second year running: Dido Harding, CEO of TalkTalk Group.