The list is topped by England Captain Leah Williamson OBE, Baroness Sue Campbell and Olympic swimmer Alice Dearing


Leah Williamson (left) with broadcaster Nuala McGovern (right) (photo credit: BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour)

BBC Woman’s Hour has revealed its list of 30 UK women in sport who have had the most significant impact over the last year.

The list includes athletes and change-makers, sports leaders and women contributing to grassroots sport.

England and Arsenal footballer Leah Williamson OBE tops the list, which was revealed live on the programme in front of an audience in the BBC Radio Theatre, hosted by Nuala McGovern.

Audiences sent in their suggestions for judges to consider. The list was then judged by Sam Quek (Olympic hockey player and broadcaster) Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson (one of the UK’s most celebrated Paralympians and member of the House of Lords), Ebony Rainford-Brent (World Cup-winning cricketer and broadcaster) and Chair Jessica Creighton (former footballer and award-winning broadcaster). 

Williamson captained England on their journey to UEFA European Championship 2022 victory, and, as an Arsenal player, she has won the Women’s Super League once, and the FA Cup and League Cup twice.

She is also a highly effective advocate for equal opportunities for girls in sport. She said: “It’s lovely [to win the award] – I’m just trying to do my job. My mum will be happy! It’s really nice, I’m slightly taken aback by that but very appreciative. As women we’ve been living in the shadows, maybe, but we know that we have the ability to step up.

“If you can’t see it, you can’t be it – which is why when we do recognise women like this, it’s great because those aspiring to be in these positions can believe that there is a place for them in the sporting world.”

Second on the list is Baroness Sue Campbell, director of Women’s Football for The Football Association, where she has championed equality, diversity and access in women’s football. 

Campbell holds a Damehood for services to sport, in recognition of the 50+ years she has spent influencing policy, as well as co-founding and chairing the Youth Sport Trust.

Third is Olympian Alice Dearing, who is one of the four co-founders of the Black Swimming Association, a non-profit organisation aimed at championing diversity in swimming from grassroots to the elite level. Dearing became the first black woman to swim for Great Britain at the Tokyo Games in 2020. 

Karen Dalziel, editor of BBC Woman’s Hour, says: “The Women in Sport Power List recognises 30 incredible women whose passion, dedication and expertise is transforming the profile and experience of women’s sport. We are proud to celebrate the unique qualities and achievements of each of these amazing women as they inspire others and bring about lasting change.”

The Woman’s Hour Power List 2023:

1. Leah Williamson OBE

2. Baroness Sue Campbell

3. Alice Dearing

4. Ellie Downie

5. Heather Dunnell

6. Helen Hardy

7. Lotte Wubben-Moy

8. Beth Barrett-Wild

9. Sophie Christiansen CBE

10. Dina Asher-Smith

11. Fiona Tomas

12. Sian Richardson

13. Jodie Ounsley

14. Gail Redmond MBE

15. Barbara Slater

16. Somayeh Caesar

17. Emma Booth

18. Manisha Tailor

19. Dr Rimla Akhtar OBE

20. Fadumo Olow

21. Tammy Parlour MBE

22. Jo Tongue MBE

23. Lauren Rowles

24. Maggie Murphy

25. Nalette Tucker

26. Alex Scott MBE

27. Professor Laura McAllister

28. Sue Anstiss MBE

29. Sarah Javaid

30. Ramla Ali