The moment Karren Brady, 41, went from being a business leader who happened to be a woman, to someone who took the promotion of women in business far more seriously came in the reality TV show The Apprentice, as a group of female candidates descended into squabbling. "You have to remember who you're representing in this process – young women out there who want to have an opportunity to do this. You should be an example to them." She had been famous for becoming the 23-year-old managing director of Birmingham City FC in 1993, after persuading her employer, David Sullivan, chairman of Sport newspapers, to buy it. Women were absent from football boardrooms then unless they were bringing in the tea; and it was unimaginable a woman could run a club. When Brady took Birmingham City over, the club was in administration; she turned it around and it was floated on the stock market four years later, valued at £25m. She is now vice-chairman of West Ham United and holds a string of directorships.
Emine Saner is a feature writer for the Guardian