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Doreen Lawrence ’most powerful woman’ in Britain

Doreen Lawrence, the campaigner, has been named the country’s leading "game changer" by Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.

Baroness Lawrence, who fought for justice following the murder of her son Stephen, was awarded first place in this year’s Power List as she was hailed as “truly an example to us all”.

She was announced as the number one “game changer” by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, who praised the “great strength that she has shown over decades”.

Second place was given to Julie Bailey, the whistleblower who campaigned for an inquiry into the Staffordshire Hospital scandal and founded the Cure the NHS campaign group.

The list, intended to reflect the women who have changed the face of power in the last year, follows the inaugural Woman’s Hour Power List of 2013, and features people campaigning on issues from FGM, cancer research and child poverty to internet safety, racism and feminism.

The Woman’s Hour editor said the list was “testament to how there are different ways to exercise power” in 2014, while the chair of judges highlighted the lack of politicians featuring in the top ten.

Third place in the list is taken by Professor Nazneen Rahman, a geneticist and cancer specialist, while activist Carmel McConnell came in fourth for her work providing free healthy meals with charity Magic Breakfast.

Julie Bentley, the chief executive of Girlguiding who proclaimed the movement the “ultimate feminist organisation”, took fifth place, with joint-sixth position going to Nimco Ali and Leyla Hussein for their work to end FGM.

Dido Harding, the CEO of TalkTalk Group who also appeared on the Power List last year, appeared on the list in seventh, with comedian and disability campaigner Francesca Martinez just behind.

Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, was awarded ninth place, and Caitlin Moran the columnist and author of How To Be A Woman, came in tenth.

Announcing Baroness Lawrence as the the number one game changer in a special message on Radio 4, Theresa May said: “The Woman’s Hour number one game changer is a woman who over many years has fought for justice for her family.

“Faced by a terrible tragedy, she picked herself up and carried on fighting to ensure that justice could be done, and the fight still continues."

“What is most striking about this woman is the great strength that she has shown over decades – strength to carry on, to keep on going, 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."

“And finally, what is most impressive about this game changer is that throughout it all, over the years, despite blow after blow, she has dealt with everything with absolute dignity. She truly is an example to us all.”

Emma Barnett, women’s editor of The Telegraph and chair of this year’s judging panel, said it had been “no easy feat” to come up with a list of just ten, compelling the judges to focus closely on the issue of 2014 that had needed to change.

She added: “It is striking that there are no politicians on our final list and we on the panel felt that is a clear indicator of two aspects of modern-day Britain: 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.”

Alice Feinstein, editor of Woman’s Hour, said: “The range of names on this list reflects the diversity of women working to change the way power operates in society today.”

The programme will now welcome five guest editors to take control of one show each, with J K Rowling, Dame Kelly Holmes, Naomi Alderman, Baroness Lawrence and Lauren Laverne presenting their choices from April 28 to May 2.

Rowling’s programme will focus on the issue of orphanages, the use of pseudonyms in literature, the “power and myth of the shoe in popular culture”, and why Scotland has the highest number of multiple sclerosis sufferers in the world.

Baroness Lawrence will discuss the people that inspire her, from Maya Angelou to Barack Obama, as well as investigating health issues and issues affecting young people.

Please find here the original article by Hannah Furness from The Telegraph.

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