Nicola Sturgeon tops UK female power list

Nicola Sturgeon topped the list, beating the likes of Angelina Jolie and Anna Wintour. Picture: John Devlin
Nicola Sturgeon topped the list, beating the likes of Angelina Jolie and Anna Wintour. Picture: John Devlin
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SHE was dubbed “the most ­dangerous woman in Britain” during the general election ­campaign, apparently striking fear into the hearts of male ­politicians the length and breadth of Britain.

Now First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has added the title of “most influential woman” to her list of accolades, as she was ranked top in the BBC’s Woman’s Hour power list of female influencers.

Nicola Sturgeon [is] both power broker and the influencer

Emma Barnett

Ms Sturgeon – who has previously not featured in the annual top ten list – saw off competition from American Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who came in second, and actor and director Angelina Jolie, who has also been praised for her work as an humanitarian ambassador.

The judging panel was chaired by journalist and broadcaster Emma Barnett, and also included human rights lawyer Helena Kennedy QC, Radio 1 DJ Gemma Cairney, columnist Sarah Vine and Whistles chief executive Jane Shepherdson.

They said they had focused on identifying a range of women who have “an exceptionally large impact” on people’s lives, not just because of their job title but because of their personal ability to influence others.

Ms Barnett described Ms Sturgeon as “both the power broker and the influencer”, saying that she “wields a huge amount of ­influence” due to her power in relation to both the UK union and the European Union.

She said: “Those who influence usually have the ear of the traditionally powerful, but are one step removed. Sometimes, as in the case of Nicola Sturgeon, they will be both the power ­broker and the influencer.”

The list also included Kath Viner, who was appointed as first female editor of the Guardian earlier this year, Camilla Cavendish, director of Downing Street’s policy unit and singer and songwriter Sia, who has written songs for stars including Madonna, Beyoncé, Celine Dion, and Rihanna, negotiated a contract with her label that stipulated that she would not have to tour or do press. The list also included Caitlyn Jenner, who has been described as the most famous openly transgender person in the world.

Ms Barnett added: “Most of the women in our list are the key influencers behind the most influential people’s decisions, from Camilla Cavendish whispering policy suggestions in to David Cameron’s ear to Sia deciding what tunes Beyonce and Rihanna belt out on their next respective albums.”

SNP MSP Sandra White said: “This is fantastic news for Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP and women across Scotland. No doubt she will be honoured to top the list. As Scotland’s first female First Minister, Nicola has worked hard to show women and girls across Scotland that they can achieve their dreams if they work hard enough.”

Speaking on a live broadcast of Woman’s Hour from the BBC’s Edinburgh studio, Ms Sturgeon said the “dangerous woman” comment was “the nicest thing the Daily Mail have ever said about me”.

She added: “I don’t think it’s particularly dangerous to want to live in a world that’s fairer; to spend money on health and education rather than weapons. I don’t feel that’s dangerous.”