Woman's Hour Power List highlights success of extraordinary women but reveals serious gaps in key areas

We will use this list as a springboard from which to discuss the contribution all women make to society – and to ask why there isn’t greater diversity in the list."Alice Feinstein, Editor, Woman's Hour
Date: 12.02.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.54
Category: Radio 4
The inaugural Woman’s Hour Power List has been published, highlighting the achievements of women working in a broad range of industries, from politics and law to arts and science. However, the list also reveals some significant gaps, notably the lack of ethnic diversity amongst women in positions of the greatest power.
  • List topped by The Queen, followed by Home Secretary Theresa May and Santander UK CEO Ana Botín
  • List reveals a lack of diversity among women in powerful positions, with no ethnic minorities making it into the ranks of the top 20
  • Names range from Adele and Victoria Beckham to the Chief Medical Officer and FTSE 100 CEOs, but gaps are evident in areas like the military and top newspaper jobs

The judging panel was made up of: author and journalist Eve Pollard, who chaired the panel; Conservative MP Priti Patel; television presenter and writer Dawn O’Porter; Labour peer Oona King; award-winning novelist Val McDermid; and former Woman’s Hour editor Jill Burridge.

Eve Pollard says of the list: “Most women on our list were judged to have power because they had reached a place where they have control – of policy, of direction, of influence, of staff. The panel, a democratic group, also felt that we should include some women who have what we describe as ‘soft’ power – not hire and fire or innovative financial decisions but the ability to transform the way we think about ourselves.

“Inevitably not everyone will agree with the 100 we have chosen. There are some omissions. For example, we had long debates about the Duchess of Cambridge. Is she influential? Hugely. Is she powerful? Not yet. What this list does is shine a light on those sectors where too few women are getting to the top, like politics, FTSE companies, the military and journalism. Our legacy, we hope, is that this list might change that.”

The Woman’s Hour Power List was launched in October 2012. Publication of the list follows three months of interviews and debate on the programme, thousands of nominations from the public and the advice of a series of expert witnesses. The final list is the result of the judging panel’s deliberations.

The top 20 names are as follows:

1. Her Majesty The Queen

2. Rt Hon Theresa May MP (Home Secretary)

3. Ana Botín (CEO, Santander UK)

4. Baroness Brenda Hale of Richmond (Supreme Court Judge)

5. Elisabeth Murdoch (Chairman, Shine Group)

6. Professor Dame Sally Davies (Chief Medical Officer)

7. Justine Roberts & Carrie Longton (Co-founders, Mumsnet)

8. Lady Justice Hallett (Appeal Court Judge)

9. Angela Ahrendts (CEO, Burberry)

10. Dame Gail Rebuck (Chairman and CEO, The Random House Group)

11. Frances O’Grady (General Secretary, TUC)

12. Moya Greene (Chief Executive, Royal Mail)

13. J.K. Rowling (author and philanthropist)

14. Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP (Deputy Leader, Labour Party)

15. Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell (President & Vice-Chancellor, University of Manchester)

16. Rosemary Squire (co-founder and co-Chief Executive, Ambassador Theatre Group)

17. Rt Hon Maria Miller MP (Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport)

18. Sara Thornton (Chief Constable, Thames Valley Police)

19. Ann Glover (Chief Scientific Adviser to the European Commission)

20. Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Deputy First Minister of Scotland)

To see the Power List in full, along with profiles of all 100 women, visit bbc.co.uk/womanshour

Alice Feinstein, Editor of Woman’s Hour, says: “In their search the panel considered thousands of inspirational, accomplished women who are leaders in their fields. Their top 100 women are the ones who have the power to bring about change in 2013 – not just the truly brilliant. They include role models, game-changers and women who are challenging thinking in their areas as well as hiring, firing, influencing and spending.

“However, for us the Power List is about more than just a series of names. When we launched the project, we wanted to start a conversation about women and power in the UK, analysing how women are making their mark and identifying the areas where their voices are not being heard.

“Woman’s Hour has always been interested in the brilliant as well as the powerful and, of course, those who don’t have power. We will use this list as a springboard from which to discuss the contribution all women make to society – and to ask why there isn’t greater diversity in the list.”

The list comprises the names of the 100 most powerful women operating in Britain today, as decided by the judging panel. As presenters of Woman’s Hour, Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey were not eligible for inclusion in the list. Members of the judging panel also excluded themselves from consideration.

Among those included in the list is former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, now a businesswoman who has created a successful global fashion brand. The three youngest women to feature are: Siobhan Reddy, the Australian games industry innovator; Clare Foges, the poet behind David Cameron’s recent speech on the European Union; and Adele, the multi-award winning singer-songwriter who has broken records for a female soloist on both sides of the Atlantic. Also included is the popular broadcaster Clare Balding who demonstrated during last year’s Olympics her ability to make sport accessible to millions of people.

The list is ranked from one to 20 only. The full list, in alphabetical order and broken down into categories, is as follows:

Her Majesty The Queen


Zaha Hadid, architect


Adele Adkins, singer & songwriter

Carol Ann Duffy CBE, Poet Laureate

Tracey Emin CBE, artist

Dawn French, comedian & writer

Jude Kelly OBE, Artistic Director at the Southbank Centre, London

Kanya King MBE, Founder and CEO of the MOBO Awards

Joanna Lumley OBE, actress and campaigner

Kath Mainland, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

Sarah Millican, comedian

J.K Rowling OBE, author and philanthropist

Rosemary Squire OBE, Joint Chief-Executive of the Ambassador Theatre Group

Banking & finance

Ana Botín, CEO, Santander UK

Ann Cairns, President of International Markets, MasterCard Worldwide

Marisa Drew, Co-Head of Global Markets, Credit Suisse

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Co-Head of Global Markets, Credit Suisse

Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO of Newton Investment Management and founder of the Thirty Per Cent Club


Dame Helen Alexander, Chairman of the Port of London Authority

Liz Bingham, Managing Partner at Ernst & Young

Denise Coates CBE, Founder and Chief Executive of Bet365

Alison Cooper, CE Imperial Tobacco

Harriet Green OBE, CEO of Thomas Cook Group PLC

Moya Greene, CE of the Royal Mail

Jan Hall OBE, Founding Partner of JCA Group

Lady Barbara Judge, chairman emerita of the UK Atomic Energy Authority & chairman of nuclear company Gen4 Energy

Pinky Lilani OBE, entrepreneur and founder and chair of the Asian Women of Achievement Awards

Carolyn McCall OBE, Chief Executive of easyJet

Ruby McGregor Smith CBE, Chief Executive of MITIE Group PLC

Judith McKenna, executive vice president, strategy and international development at Walmart International (outgoing Chief Operating officer of Asda)

Alison Nimmo CBE, Chief Executive of the Crown Estate

Dame Mary Perkins, Specsavers

Cilla Snowball CBE, Group Chairman and Group Chief Executive of AMV BBDO

Amanda Sourry, Chairman of Unilever UK and Ireland


Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of Kids Company

Frances O' Grady, General Secretary, TUC


Mary Curnock Cook OBE, Chief Executive UCAS

Lucy Heller, Chief Executive of ARK, and Managing Director of ARK Schools


Justine Roberts & Carrie Longton, co-founders of Mumsnet


Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry

Victoria Beckham, designer

Natalie Massenet, chairman of the British Fashion Council in 2012

Stella McCartney, designer

Chrissie Rucker MBE, Founder and Board Director of The White Company

Alexandra Shulman OBE, editor of Vogue


The Rt Hon Lady Justice Mary Arden, Head of International Judicial Relations for England and Wales

Shami Chakrabarti CBE, Director of Liberty

Cressida Dick QPM, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police

The Rt Hon Lady Justice Hallett, Appeal Court Judge

Baroness Hale of Richmond, Supreme Court Judge

Dame Janet Smith, Independent Assessor for Miscarriages of Justice

Sara Thornton CBE QPM, Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police

Media & technology

Helen Boaden, Head of News, BBC

Colette Bowe, Chair of Ofcom

Eileen Gallagher OBE, Co-founder and CEO of Shed Productions

Dido Harding, CEO TalkTalk

Jay Hunt, Chief Creative Officer, Channel 4

Martha Lane Fox CBE UK Digital Champion UK Digital Champion

Elisabeth Murdoch, Chairman of Shine Ltd

Siobhan Reddy, Studio Director, Media Molecule

Tessa Ross CBE, Controller, Film4

Joanna Shields, CEO and Chair of Tech City Investment Organisation

Nicola Shindler, Founder of Red Productions

Sophie Turner Laing, MD Content, BSkyB

Rachel Whetstone, Senior Vice President, Communications and Public Policy for Google

Medicine & health

Professor Sue Bailey, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

Professor Dame Carol Black, adviser on health at work and Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer

Dr Clare Gerada MBE, Chair of the Royal College of GPs

Dr Anne Glover CBE, Chief Scientific Advisor to the European Commission

Dame Julie Moore, Chief Executive of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust


Dame Vivien Duffield, The Clore-Duffield Foundation

Lady Helen Hamlyn, The Helen Hamlyn Trust

Sigrid Rausing, Publisher of Granta Books

Dame Stephanie ‘Steve’ Shirley, former software entrepreneur

Politics & policy

Baroness Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission

Louise Casey, Director General, Troubled Families Unit

Clare Foges, David Cameron’s speechwriter

Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow Home Secretary

Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for International Development

Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport

Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee

Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Home Secretary

Rt Hon Maria Miller MP, Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport

Nicola Sturgeon MSP, Deputy First Minister of Scotland


Ursula MacKenzie, President of the Publishers’ Association & Chief Executive of Little, Brown Book Group

Dame Gail Rebuck, Chief Executive of Random House


Reverend Lorna Hood, Moderator of the Church of Scotland elect

Science and engineering

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, astrophysicist

Professor Sue Black OBE, Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology, University of Dundee

Professor Dame Ann Dowling, Mechanical Engineering, University of Cambridge

Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton

Dame Sue Ion, engineer and expert advisor on nuclear fuels

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester & neuroscientist


Clare Balding, broadcaster

Karren Brady, Vice-Chairman of West Ham Utd

Baroness Sue Campbell, Chair of UK Sport

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, crossbench peer and Paralympian

Heather Rabbatts CBE, non-executive director of the FA

Voluntary sector

Jasmine Whitbread, CEO of Save the Children International

The Woman’s Hour Power List is revealed in a special edition of the programme broadcast live from the BBC Radio Theatre in front of an audience of Woman’s Hour listeners – Tuesday, 12 February at 10am on BBC Radio 4.