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Bridget Jones on Woman’s Hour Power List – BBC News

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Image copyright AP
Image caption Renee Zellweger portrayed Bridget Jones in the film adaptations of Helen Fielding’s books

Bridget Jones has been named on a list of the women who have had the biggest impact on women’s lives over the past 70 years by BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour.

The fictional character was one of just seven people picked for the Power List to mark the show’s 70th birthday.

She was described as “a flawed heroine” by the chair of the judging panel.

Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher topped the list, while pop star Beyonce and feminist academic Germaine Greer also made the cut.

Helen Brook, who set up the Brook Advisory Centres in 1964 offering contraceptive advice to unmarried women, was also chosen.

The other women listed were Barbara Castle, the Labour MP who brought in the Equal Pay Act in 1970; and Jayaben Desai, who campaigned against low pay and poor conditions for women workers.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Margaret Thatcher was UK prime minister from 1979-1990

BBC 5 live presenter Emma Barnett, who chaired the judges, said Bridget Jones had been a divisive choice for the panel.

But she said the list was about who has “actually had impact in real women’s lives… impact doesn’t have to be good, bad, serious or funny”.

The character “gave permission for our own imperfections… we still have huge image issues in this country”, Barnett explained.

Bridget Jones creator Helen Fielding said it was a “tremendous honour for Bridget and, of course, for me”.

She added: “I hope it doesn’t mean everyone’s going to binge drink and eat Milk Tray late at night.

“I also hope there was something rather more profound going on, there’s something in Bridget’s nature which is very British which is ultimately quite decent, quite kind, quite resilient, not judgemental.”

She said Bridget, who first appeared in a newspaper column in 1995 and went on to feature in hit books and films, had caught the zeitgeist and that “women were fed up of being presented in movies and in fiction as not being able to speak for themselves”.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Beyonce has ‘put out quite a positive feminist message, right from the start’, the judges said

The 2016 Woman’s Hour Power List

  1. Margaret Thatcher – First female British prime minister from 1979-1990
  2. Helen Brook – Set up Brook Advisory Centres in 1964 offering contraceptive advice to unmarried women
  3. Barbara Castle – Labour MP for Blackburn (1945-1979) and brought in the Equal Pay Act in 1970
  4. Germaine Greer – Australian writer, recognised as one of the major voices of the feminist movement
  5. Jayaben Desai – Prominent leader of the strikers in the Grunwick dispute in London in 1976
  6. Bridget Jones – The first book, Bridget Jones’s Diary, was published by Helen Fielding in 1996
  7. Beyonce – US singer and songwriter who emerged as part of Destiny’s Child before a hit solo career

Woman’s Hour presenters Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey will host a special edition of the programme on Wednesday at 10:00 GMT to celebrate the chosen women.

It was recorded at Buckingham Palace at a reception attended by The Duchess of Cornwall.

In deciding on the final seven names, the judges considered a woman’s body of work or her role as a catalyst for change over the past 70 years, as well as those having an impact today.

Image caption Barbara Castle brought in child benefit as a payment to mothers rather than through the father’s pay packet

Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, said: “It is interesting that all but two of these women are ‘second-wavers’.

“We are excited about the next generation of activists, thinkers and writers fighting for social and political justice in the 21st Century and look forward to seeing them on future power lists.”

Woman’s Hour publishes a Power List every year, with a different theme each time. This was the first year where dead women or those outside the UK were considered.

Barnett said: “The list takes in a range of experiences across a range of ages. We hope the list inspires, educates and crucially shines a light on the work of some women who history may already be starting to forget.”

Barnett was joined on the panel by business leader and Apprentice star Karren Brady; former Labour adviser and commentator Ayesha Hazarika; award-winning screenwriter Abi Morgan; former Woman’s Hour editor Jill Burridge; and networking expert and author Julia Hobsbawm.

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Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-38303886

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