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Old Girl Named in UK's Most Powerful Women List

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Dame Janet Smith, an Old Girl of Bolton School, has been declared one of the UK's most powerful women in a BBC survey.

A panel of judges compiled a list of the country's 100 most influential females for Radio 4's Woman's Hour. The list was made up of women who have the greatest impact on British politics, society, culture and the economy - the movers and shakers who shape the way we live today.

Janet Smith is a former High Court Judge and President of the Council of the Inns of Court. She became Independent Assessor for Miscarriages of Justice in June 2011. After being called to the Bar in 1972, she practised in Manchester for twenty years, specialising in the area of clinical negligence. She was made a QC in 1986 and a High Court Judge in 1992. In 2002 she became the fourth woman to be promoted to the Court of Appeal, and published the findings of the high-profile Shipman Enquiry in the same year. In October 2012 she was appointed by the BBC to lead an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile.

The Queen, Home Secretary Theresa May and Santander Bank boss Ana Botin were named the top three most powerful women. Further down the list were author JK Rowling at seventh and Scottish Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at 20th. David Cameron's speechwriter Clare Foges, singer Adele and broadcaster Clare Balding were among those outside the top 20 but on the full list.

One judge, journalist Eve Pollard, said the list highlighted the sectors where women were still under-represented: "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. 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 judging panel also included Conservative MP Priti Patel, Labour peer Oona King and crime novelist Val McDermid.

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Dame Janet Smith

Dame Janet Smith has been declared one of the UK's most powerful women