independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Queen tops poll of powerful women

The Queen has been voted the most powerful woman in the UK

The Queen has topped the first ever power list put together by Radio 4 show Woman's Hour, but there is no room on it for her daughter-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge.

She was joined in the top five on the list of the country's most powerful women by Home Secretary Theresa May, Santander boss Ana Botin, Supreme Court judge Baroness Brenda Hale and businesswoman Elisabeth Murdoch.

It was put together for the programme by a judging panel including journalist Eve Pollard, Conservative MP Priti Patel, Labour peer Oona King and crime novelist Val McDermid.

Ms Pollard said: "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."

Other names in the top 20 include the founders of Mumsnet, Justine Roberts and Carrie Longton, the new head of the TUC, Frances O'Grady, and JK Rowling.

Woman's Hour editor Alice Feinstein said the list was more than "just a series of names".

She said: "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 full list is 100 strong and also includes David Cameron's speechwriter Clare Foges, singer Adele and presenter Clare Balding.

Press Association

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