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The Nations Most Influential Women

Mar 07, 2022
The Nations Most Influential Women
International Women’s Day is celebrated to those women who have had an influential impact from our lives. Whether that’s from TV, film, or music, to politics, royalty and sport, here are the most influential women in each of Britain’s top cities from Barratt London.
LONDON

Name: Queen Elizabeth II – Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Age: 95 years old Birthplace: Mayfair, London Why they are so influential: The oldest living monarch and longest reigning-current monarch. The queen of England is a very popular figure amongst the public and attracts a lot of interest from tourists and travellers from abroad. The Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II is being celebrated in 2022 in the Commonwealth to mark the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952.

Name: Dame Anna Wintour DBE Age:  72 years old Birthplace: London Why they are so influential: Through the years she has been regarded as one of the most powerful people in fashion. She is a British-American Journalist and has served as the editor-in-chief of Vogue since 1988. The bestselling book ‘The Devil wears Prada’ which was later made into a film starring Meryl Streep is believed to be based on Wintour.

Name: Adele Laurie Blue Adkins MBE (Adele) Age: 33 years old Birthplace: Tottenham, London Why they are so influential: Adele is one of the world’s best selling music artists with sales over 120 million. She writes her own music based on her personal experiences with love and heartbreak and is an inspiration to many. She is adored by fans of all ages, young to old and captures the heart of everyone with her down to earth personality and sense of humour. Despite being one of the most famous women on the planet, she remains seemingly not famous and attached to her London roots.

BIRMINGHAM

Name: Eleanor May Simmonds OBE (Ellie Simmonds) Age: 27 years old Birthplace: Walsall Why they are so influential: Ellie Simmonds is a former British Paralympian swimmer who has won multiple gold medals for Great Britain. Aged just 13 at the time, Ellie was the second-youngest Paralympian in British history to win a medal of any colour when she competed at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. Due to her success, she also won the BBC’S Young Sports Personality of the Year award in the same year. Ellie has Achondroplasia dwarfism, yet this has proved no barrier for her success and is an inspiration to others living with disabilities to pursue their dreams.

Name: Dame Julia Mary Walters DBE (Julie Walters)
Age: 71 years old Birthplace: Edgbaston, Birmingham Why they are so influential: Dame Julie Walters is an English actress, author, and comedian. She has received four British Academy Television Awards, two British academy film awards, two international Emmy awards, a BAFTA fellowship and a golden globe proving her many talents. She is well loved for her role as Molly Weasley in the Harry Potter film series and was voted ‘the best on-screen mother’ for her portrayal of the character. She is also a patron of the domestic abuse survivor’s charity, Women’s Aid.

Name: Lisa Clayton
Age: 63 years old Birthplace: Birmingham Why they are so influential: Lisa Clayton was the first woman to single-handedly sail around the world non-stop in September 1994. She survived the journey despite her yacht, ‘Spirit of Birmingham’, capsizing twice. She was recognised as an Honorary Freeman of the city of Birmingham.

LEEDS

Name: Melanie Janine Brown MBE (Mel B) Age: 46 years old Birthplace: Hyde Park Leeds Why they are so influential: Mel B is an English singer, actress and TV personality. Best known as a member of the girl group ‘Spice Girls’, Mel B is also known as ‘Scary Spice’.  The group became the best-selling girl group of all time and are arguably the most famous. Many of the hit songs by Spice Girls became the anthems to young girls childhoods and their debut album ‘Spice’ centred on girl power. The album sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. Spice Girls have become icons in British music and influenced the likes of Adele and Little Mix. The band spent 22 weeks at number 1 in the UK and won 5 Brit awards.  Mel B has since gone on to become a TV Personality appearing on Dancing with the Stars, Australia’s Got Talent, The X Factor, Loose Women and many more. She’s done it all!

Name: Helen Fielding Age: 64 years old Birthplace: Morley, Leeds Why they are so influential: Helen Fielding is the genius behind everyone’s favourite thirty-something singleton, Bridget Jones. We have been through it all with her! Helen has won numerous awards for her series of novels. Bridget Jones’s Diary and The Edge of Reason were published in more than 40 countries and sold more than 15 million copies. The two film interpretations achieved international success. In a survey conducted by ‘The Guardian’, Bridget Jones’s Diary was named as one of the ten novels that best defined the 20th century! In a 2004 poll, Fielding was listed as the 29th most influential person in British Culture. In 2016, the BBC’s Women’s Hour, listed Bridget Jones as one of the seven women who had most influenced British female culture over the last seven decades.

Name: Nicola Virginia Adams OBE Age: 39 years old Birthplace: Leeds Why they are so influential: Nicola Adams is a former professional boxer, she retired with an undefeated record and held the WBO female flyweight title in 2019. She became the first female boxer to become Olympic champion winning gold at London 2012. As of May 2016, she was the reigning Olympic, World and European games champion at flyweight. She is openly lesbian and was named the most influential LGBT person in Britain by The Independent in 2012. She was the first openly LGBT person to win a Olympic boxing gold medal.

GLASGOW

Name: Winifred Joyce (Winnie Drinkwater) Age: 11 April 1913-6 October 1996 (aged 83)
Birthplace: Waterfoot Why they were so influential: Winnie was a pioneering Scottish aviator and aeroplane engineer. She was the first woman in the world to hold a commercials pilot license! She was also the youngest aircraft pilot in the world, she was just seventeen when she qualified.

Name: Lorraine Kelly CBE Age: 62 years old Birthplace: Glasgow Why they are so influential: Lorraine is a Scottish journalist and tv presenter. She is known for presenting on Good Morning Britain, This Morning and her show Lorraine. Lorraine was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2021 new year honours for her services to charity and was promoted to Commander in the 2020 Birthday Honours for service to broadcasting, journalism and charity. Lorraine is a familiar and comforting face to many appearing on breakfast TV every morning for years dating back to the 1990’s.

Name: Beatrice Clugston Age:  1827 – 1888 (aged 61) Birthplace: Glasgow Why they are so influential:  Beatrice was born in Glasgow and is best known for being a British Philanthropist. She founded the Glasgow Royal Dorcas Society in 1863. The Dorcas Society would make sure that those leaving hospital would have sufficient clothes and they would also give them some money to make sure they would be ok during their recovery. Anyone who wasn’t visited in hospital would have a visitor from the society to check in on them. Although Beatrice was poor herself, she offered unconditional help to those who needed it. Remarkably, she raised money in fundraisers where she invited the right people to the right events. Supporters such as the duke and duchess of argyll, princess Louise and the duke and duchess of Roxburghe attended her events and on one occasion she raised over £24,000! A lot of money back then!

SHEFFIELD

Name: Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill DBE
Age: 36 years old Birthplace: Sheffield Why they are so influential: Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill is a retired British field and track athlete born in Sheffield. She is a three-time world champion, Olympic champion, and European champion! She is a former British record holder in the 100 meters hurdles, the high jump and the indoor penthalon. Today she commentates for the BBC and has set up her own fitness app specialising in women’s health! She is an inspiration to many.

Name: Helen Patricia Sharman, CMG, OBE, HonFRSC Age: 58 years old
Birthplace: Sheffield Why they are so influential: Helen was the first British astronaut to go into space and the first woman to visit the Mir Space Station in May 1991. She went to space at the age of 27 making her one of the youngest people to do so. What an achievement!

Name: Georgiana Cavendish, The Duchess of Devonshire Age: 1757 – 1806 (49 years old) Birthplace: Sheffield Why they are so influential: Georgiana Cavendish was an English socialite, political organiser, style icon, author, and activist. As the duchess of Devonshire, she gathered much fame in her lifetime. The Duchess is played by Keira Knightley in the 208 film ‘The Duchess’. Although she lived a century before suffrage, she was one of the first female political activists.

BRADFORD

Name: Emily Jane Brontë Age: 1818 -1848 (30 years old) Birthplace: Bradford Why they are so influential: Emily Bronte was an English novelist and poet best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights. She is considered one of the most influential people in English Literature to this day and her novel is considered a classic.

Name: Charlotte Brontë Age: 1816- 1855 (39 years old) Birthplace: Bradford Why they are so influential: Charlotte is the eldest of the Bronte sisters and a novelist and poet. She is the author or Jane Eyre which also became a classic of English Literature.

Name: Georgie Henley Age: 26 years old Birthplace: Bradford Why they are so influential: Georgie Henley is a Yorkshire born actress best known for her role as Lucy Pevensie throughout The Chronicles of Narnia film series. The film series is based on one of the most famous novels of all time by C.S Lewis. From the seven books, three were adapted into film and collectively made over 1.5 billion dollars. So just a bit of a big deal? Georgie got to live out many young girl’s dreams being a part of the hugely popular fantasy series and has since appeared on stage and in other television adaptations such as Jane Eyre on BBC. Not only this, Georgie studied at The University of Cambridge where she starred in on stage productions too. Brains and beauty!

LIVERPOOL

Name: Samantha Ann Quek MBE Age: 33 years old Birthplace: Liverpool Why they are so influential: Samantha Quek is an English former field hockey player and television personality. Not only is she a skilled hockey player, but also an Olympic and European gold medallist at the age of just 28. Since retiring, she has presented many TV shows, such as American football on the BBC, Rugby Union on channel 5 and field hockey on BT Sport. She appeared on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! and Celebrity MasterChef where she reached the final three. She is an inspiration to young athletes.

Name: Rebecca Caroline Ferguson Age: 35 years old Birthplace: Liverpool
Why they are so influential: Rebecca Ferguson is famous for being the first female runner up on The X Factor. After the show, it was reported that Rebecca had signed a record deal with Syco Music and despite not winning the show, went on to have a successful singing career. She has listed Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, and Christina Aguilera as her musical inspirations. Despite having a difficult upbringing in life, admitting she was bullied for not having the right clothes and little money as a child, her debut single landed in the UK top 10. She is one of Liverpool’s greatest talents.

Name: Jodie Comer Age: 28 years old Birthplace: Liverpool Why they are so influential: Jodie Comer is an actress best known for playing Oksana Astankova/ Villanelle in the British Spy drama Killing Eve. She has won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and the British Academy Television Award for Best Actress for this role and received further critical acclaim. Many are surprised to hear Jodie’s native scouse accent due to her perusing many different accents due to her character swapping disguises in the hit series. Jodie’s professional career started in 2008 in appearances in programmes such as Waterloo Road, Holby City and Silent Witness. Since then, she has rose to fame showcasing her incredible acting talent and has been named on British Vogue’s list of ‘Most Influential Girls’ and Forbes included her in their ’30 under 30’ list. This includes individuals considered the top 30 most influential in the entertainment industry. What an achievement?!

EDINBURGH

Name: Susan Magdalane Boyle
Age: 60 years old Birthplace: Blackburn, Scotland Why they are so influential: Susan Boyle shot to fame after appearing on the third series of Britain’s Got Talent back in 2009. She soon became a household name after stunning the judges with her incredible voice. Her debut studio album was released in November 2009 and became the UK’s best-selling debut album of all time! In 2009, her audition from Britain’s Got Talent was named the most watched YouTube video of the year. It had gained 2.5 million views within the first 72 hours of being online. Boyle has become one of the most famous singers of our generation despite being bullied as a child and being diagnosed with learning difficulties as a child. She has revealed that she believed to have brain damage growing up but has since learned that this was Asperger Syndrome.

Name: Dr Sophie Jex-Blake Age: 1840- 1912 (72 years old)
Birthplace: Edinburgh Why they are so influential: Dr Sophie Jex-Blake was a crucial pillar in women’s history. Sophie rejected the idea of marriage to pursue a career in Medicine. She was instrumental in women’s rights and helping women be able to study in further education. Back in the 1800’s, women were denied entry to study at university and Jex-Blake made it her mission to change this. She advertised for other women to step forward and apply for positions within further education after being refused entry to university. In 1869, seven women were admitted to The University of Edinburgh becoming the first women to be enrolled in any British University. Without Sophie, women wouldn’t even be in education! Sophie then became the first female doctor in 1878.

MANCHESTER

Name: Emmeline Pankhurst Age: 1858- 1928 (69 years old) Birthplace: Manchester Why the are so influential: This list would not be complete without the mention of Emmeline Pankhurst. She was the leader of the Suffragette movement which allowed women the right to vote. She changed the lives of females in the UK forever. She fought tirelessly as a political activist to help women gain the right to vote. She has been named as one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century. In 1918, women were granted the right to vote and we all have Emeline to thank for it.

Name: Victoria Wood CBE  Age: 1953 – 2016 (62 years old) Birthplace: Manchester Why they are so influential: Victoria Wood was an English Comedian, actress, lyricist, singer, pianist, and the list goes on. Wood wrote and starred in dozens of sketches, plays, musicals and films over several decades. Her live comedy acts would feature her own compositions which she performed on the piano. It was clear to see Victoria was multi-talented. Her humour was based around everyday life and included many references to activities, attitudes and products that exemplify Britain. She won multiple BAFTA awards and came tenth in ITV’s poll of the British publics 50 Greatest TV Stars.

Name: Professor Erinma Bell MBE Age: 57 years old Birthplace: Manchester Why they are so influential: Erinma Bell is a peace activist recognised for her work tackling gun crime in Moss Side and Longsight in Manchester. Erinma and her husband witnessed a friend being gunned down and as a result set up the charity CARISMA to give young people positive alternatives to being involved in gun crime. Gun crime reached its worst in 2007/8 and Erinma vowed to make a difference. She has an honorary doctorate from the University of Salford as well as an MBE. Erinma is also a mum to eight, she is a real-life superwoman!

BRISTOL

Name: Maya Indea Jama Age: 27 years old Birthplace: Bristol Why they are so influential: Maya Jama was born and raised in Bristol where she lived until she was sixteen years old. Maya grew up with her mother and brother however her father spent all her childhood in prison. Maya moved to London by herself when she was sixteen to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress. Maya knew she wanted a career in media and knew this meant making the move to London to be involved in the industry. Jama soon realised that TV presenting suited her better and went on to hosting radio shows, shows on MTV and worked closely with the BRIT awards. In November 2017, she became the youngest person to host the MOBO awards at just 23 years old. In 2018, Maya joined Radio 1 and soon had her own show titled ‘Maya Jama’ on Friday’s and Saturday’s. Maya has skyrocketed to becoming the UK’S most in-demand TV Presenter even landing the job of hosting Simon Cowell’s latest show ‘Walk The Line’. All of this under her belt already and she’s just getting started!

Name: Margaret Constance “Maisie” Williams Age: 24 years old Birthplace: Bristol Why they are so influential: Maisie Williams is a Bristol born actress who made her acting debut in the epic hit series Game of Thrones. Maisie was just twelve years old when she began her professional career by co-starring in one of the largest ensemble casts on television. She plays Ayra Stark, a lead character and fan favourite. Maisie almost missed her audition for the show as it coincided with a school trip, but her mother convinced her to go. Game of Thrones gave Maisie global recognition, and she has received critical praise and multiple awards including a Prime Time Emmy award and MTV Movie & Tv Awards. Maisie has a massive 10.2 million followers on Instagram and has even had shout-outs from the likes of Drake and Taylor Swift!

Name: Elizabeth Blackwall Age: 1821- 1910 (89 years of age) Birthplace: Bristol Why they are so influential: Elizabeth Blackwell was a British Physician, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. She was also the first woman on the Medical Register of the General Medical Council. Blackwell played an important part in the United Kingdom and United States and pioneered the promotion of women, in medicine. She raised social awareness and was a moral reformer. She founded the New York infirmary for women, and she also played a significant part in the American civil war by organising nurses. Her contributions to women in medicine are still celebrated today with the Elizabeth Blackwell medal. This is a medal awarded annually to a woman who has made a significant contribution to women in medicine.