The Irish Times Women’s Power List 2015

Woman’s Hour has been publishing a power list of movers and shakers for three years and The Irish Times thought it was high time it did the same.

All of the women on the BBC programme’s list, which was released this week, “have an exceptionally large impact on our lives, not just because of their job title but because of their personal ability to influence others”.

The first Woman’s Hour power list was topped by the queen of England. This year, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was in pole position.

Neither Angela Merkel nor Hillary Clinton made it onto the Women’s Hour list - but they didn’t make it onto ours either.

Like the Woman’s Hour list, ours has been compiled by the unelected and the unrepresentative. Now, that is power.


You can add your own nominees to the list - and democracy will reign.

So who has made it on to The Irish Times Women’s Power List 2015?


Mary Ellen Ring

If she accepts the chalice, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court judge Mary Ellen Ring will be appointed the next chair of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSoc).

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said “Ms Justice Ring will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the position.”

If luck is a lady, when it comes to Ireland, justice is most definitely a lady.

In addition to the Minister for Justice and the new head of GSoc, the Garda Commissioner, Noirín O’Sullivan, is a woman and so is the Attorney General, DPP, Chief State Solicitor and Chief Justice.

Women account for half of Law Library members and some 60 to 70 per cent of solicitors are female.

Ireland is powering ahead at top levels of the legal profession, but just over 15 per cent of Dáil representatives are women.


Joan Burton

There is no denying that Tánaiste and leader of the Labour Party Joan Burton

has “an exceptionally large impact on our lives.”

Single parents of children over the age of seven, who are in receipt of social welfare, are this week finding that Burton has a particularly large impact on their lives. These parents are required to seek employment or training as soon as their youngest child reaches seven years of age. Lone parent groups say 30,000 families stand to lose out under the reforms.

Joan Burton is not for turning, though. She says childcare has been improved and increases in child benefit payments will be prioritised.

The thinking woman’s Carol Vorderman, Burton will be using her background in accountancy to calculate the Labour Party’s potential tally in the next general election.


Katie Taylor

“I want to go down in the history books as the greatest female boxer of all time and I think I’m on the right path.”

We think you’re on the right path too, Katie.

The Bray fighter recently added a European Games gold medal to the 17 gold medals she’s already won. After a brief sojourn as queen of our hearts, Stephanie Roche must score another cracker at her new club Sunderland before she takes Katie’s crown. So far what Katie did remains unassailable.


Katy Perry

Forget Taylor Swift, pop princess Katy Perry is the richest female celebrity of them all, having earned $135m last year.

“I am an entrepreneur,” the Firework singer told Forbes. “I don’t want to shy away from that. I actually want to kind of grab it by its balls.”

Consider them grabbed, Katy.


Grainne Healy

On Friday May 22nd, Ireland voted to make marriage available to everyone, regardless of their gender. And one organisation that stood tall was Marriage Equality.Together with her co-chair, Brian Sheehan, Grainne Healy led a rainbow revolution. She also led the Gay Pride parade in Dublin.

Healy said. “Today is a celebration of what so many people have worked over a decade to achieve – marriage equality.” Healy deserved to celebrate.


Lydia Foy

Dr Lydia Foy’s 22-year legal battle to have her gender recognised on official documents has been instrumental in leading to the Gender Recognition Bill, which is still continuing its progress through the Oireachtas. Foy was recently honoured for raising awareness of the hardship and suffering experienced by the Transgender community in Ireland when she received the European Citizen’s Prize.

“I am so happy, honoured and overwhelmed to receive this award,” Dr Foy said. Caitlin Jenner may have captured hearts in the US, but Lydia Foy has captured the hearts of Ireland.


Serena Williams

Serena Jameka Williams is probably the greatest female tennis player ever. Sorry Martina.

Currently knocking around the grassy courts of south west London, the world number one and 20-time grand slam singles champion almost didn’t win at Roland Garros and she has to beat sister Venus to get to the Wimbledon final… but if Serena can’t make our Power list, then no one can.


Louise O’Neill

“I would love 16-year-olds to read it and think maybe what they’ve been told about the way women have to be and act isn’t 100 per cent true.”

Powerful words have led young Co Cork author Louise O'Neill to our Power List. The Only Ever Yours author left a fashion job in New York to write her debut novel set in a not-too-distant world where women are schooled in one of three functions that suit the men there.

Now O'Neill has produced book number two, which is set in present day Ireland and focuses on a rape at a party. Asking for It is out in September and is sure to make an "impact", which is a criteria for inclusion on "the list" after all.


Mary McAleese

When she was the president of Ireland, Mary McAleese would have been the first name on our Power List. Now she makes it in her new role as the mother of the nation.

She urged people to vote yes in last month’s marriage referendum, saying it was “about Ireland’s children, gay children” and passing the referendum would help dismantle the “architecture of homophobia”.

The canon lawyer and committed Catholic, said that, with her husband Martin, she thought the referendum was “about the kind of future we want for Ireland. We want, in the words of the proclamation, the children of the nation to be cherished equally.”

So who do you want on The Irish Times Women's Power List 2015?  Comment below or tweet us @amcteirnan

The power is in your hands