Bridget Jones makes the Woman's Hour Power List

Bridget Jones makes the Woman's Hour Power List

Bridget Jones has made the Woman's Hour Power List - despite being a fictional character. 

Helen Fielding's singleton protagonist was a "divisive choice for the panel", according to chair of the judges BBC 5 live presenter Emma Barnett, who said ultimately the recognition was for women who "actually had impact in real women's lives".

Barnett said in conversation with the BBC that the impact "doesn't have to be good, bad, serious or funny", explaining the character "gave permission for our own imperfections... we still have huge image issues in this country".

Fielding commented to the BBC it was a "tremendous honour for Bridget and, of course, for me". 

"I hope it doesn't mean everyone's going to binge drink and eat Milk Tray late at night," said Fielding. "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."

Fielding is tonight (14th December) scheduled to join Mumsnet users live from Los Angeles to answer questions about her latest book, Bridget Jones’s Baby: The Diaries (Vintage), which published in October. Questions from users include "What does Bridget think about Brexit?" 

This year is the first time Woman's Hour is honouring "great women who are no longer with us". Keeping company on the list with Jones is late Labour MP Barbara Castle, who brought in the Equal Pay Act of 1970 as well as former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Barnett was joined on the judges panel by Karren Brady, business leader and life peer; Ayesha Hazarika, former Labour adviser and commentator; Abi Morgan, award-winning screenwriter ("The Iron Lady" and "Suffragette"); Jill Burridge, former editor of Woman’s Hour; and Julia Hobsbawm, founder, Editorial Intelligence.

The full Women's Hour Power List is:

   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