Doreen Lawrence Has Been Named The Most Powerful Woman In Britain

But the Baroness said she'd rather have her son Stephen back, as she came top of The women's Hour ‘Game Changer’ list


by Rebecca Holman |
Published on

This morning Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour announced this year’s Power List – a run down of the top ten most influential female ‘game changers’ in the UK today. Baroness Doreen Lawrence headed up a list that focused more on social activism and influence than it did on power. In fact, not a single MP made the list – and judge chair Emma Barnett noted the irony of the timing of the show – just hours after the resignation Maria Miller, Minister For Women and Equalities.

Instead, the list focused on women who had worked hard to influence and change the lives of those around them – sometimes against the odds. ‘The ambition for this year’s list was to capture a snapshot of a moment in time – of those particular “games” in 2014 that need changing and the women making a real difference in those fields,’ Emma explained.

‘I expect my politicians to be game changers and I expect them to take risks,’ added fellow judge Liz Bingham – Managing Partner at Ernst & Young and the only member of the panel to appear on last year’s list. Judge Rachel Johnson – sister of Boris – agreed. ‘It’s a good thing that people won’t have heard the names on this list, because it tells us that power doesn’t lie at the centre anymore.’

The final ten included journalist and author Caitlin Moran, Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates, Leyla Hussein and Nimco Ali – who were selected jointly for their work campaigning against FGM, and Carmel McConnell, who founded the Magic Breakfast charity, which provides breakfast for schoolchildren (remortgaging her house to do so). Cancer doctor Nazneen Rahman, Comedian and disability activist Francesca Martinez. Julie Bentley, Chief Executive of Girl Guiding UK, and NHS Whistleblower Julie Bailey also featured on the list. Dido Harding, CEO of TalkTalk Group was the only woman to make it onto the list two years in a row for her work blocking pornography access online.

The 2014 list is a marked move on from last year’s, which received criticism for featuring too many wealthy white women, with Home Secretary Theresa May coming in at number one. (Although, as Women’s Hour presenter Jane Garvey pointed out, the list itself possibly wasn’t the problem, as it was merely reflecting the reality for women in this country.)

Instead this year’s winner Baroness Lawrence talked about the struggles she has faced receiving justice for her son Stephen Lawrence, who was killed in a racist attack 21 years ago, aged just 18. ‘I know I have worked extremely hard over the years to bring to the attention of the authorities what happened to my son,’ she said. ‘But I would give all of those things up just to have an ordinary family life and to have my family around me.’

Follow Rebecca on Twitter @rebecca_hol

Picture: Getty

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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