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Here Are 11 Top Jobs That Have Never Been Held By A Woman

Some of these jobs have existed for hundreds of years – and none of them have ever been done by a woman.

Originally posted on
Updated on

1. Director-general of the BBC

Lewis Whyld / PA Archive/PA Images

The current chief executive and editor-in-chief is Tony Hall. The first person to head up the BBC was Sir John Reith in 1927 – and 16 other men have held the position in between.

2. Lord (or lady?) chief justice

Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire/PA Images

The head of the judiciary of England and Wales and the president of the courts of England and Wales is currently the Lord Burnett of Maldon. The position of lord chief justice has existed in some form in England since 1234, but the role has never been filled by a woman. Last year, Lady Hale of Richmond became the first woman president of the Supreme Court.

3. Defence secretary

Steve Parsons / PA Wire/PA Images

The current defence secretary is Gavin Williamson. The post has been held by some big names, including Sir Winston Churchill – but never by a woman.

4. Editor of the Times

Ian West / PA Archive/PA Images

The Times was first published 233 years ago, in 1785. Since then it has never had a female editor. The current editor is John Witherow, who took the helm in 2013. The Telegraph, first published in 1855, has also never had a woman editor, nor has the Daily Mail, which was founded in 1896.


5. Leader of the Labour party

Danny Lawson / PA Wire/PA Images

While two women – Margaret Beckett and Harriet Harman (who held the position twice) – have been acting leaders, Britain's main opposition party has never elected a woman to the role. Current leader Jeremy Corbyn beat then-shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and shadow care minister Liz Kendall when he won the leadership vote in 2015.

6. Governor of the Bank of England

Peter Nicholls / PA Wire/PA Images

Mark Carney is the current and 120th governor – the most senior role at the Bank of England. The position has existed since 1694 but has never been held by a woman.

7. Premier League football manager

Mike Egerton / EMPICS Sport

Former Manchester United player Phil Neville manages the England women's football team. But no woman has ever managed a men's Premier League club. In 2014 Shelley Kerr made history as Britain's first senior female manager – in the fifth tier of Scottish football. There has also never been a woman chair of the Football Association.

8. Secretary-general of the United Nations

Lukas Schulze / Getty Images

The UN has had nine secretaries-general (plus one acting one), including the current head, António Guterres – but none of these "world moderators" have ever been female.


9. Director of the British Museum

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

The first head of the British Museum was appointed in 1756, and the current one is Hartwig Fischer. In more than 250 years, the position has been held only by men. Last year, Maria Balshaw was appointed director of Tate – the first woman to ever hold the title.

10. Chief of the defence staff

Poa(phot) Owen Cooban / Press Association Images

The current professional head of the British armed forces is Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach. The British military has never had a woman at the top. As of 2017, there were 7,560 women employed in the British Army – 9% of the total workforce.

11. Chancellor of the exchequer

David Mirzoeff / PA Archive/PA Images

The chancellor of the exchequer is one of Britain's most senior government posts – the minister responsible for finance and the economy. Current chancellor Phillip Hammond follows on from a long line of notable names, including Robert Peel and Winston Churchill, but all have been men.


Channel 4 appointed its first female chief executive last year. An earlier version of this post said it had never had a female head.

Hannah Al-Othman is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Hannah Al-Othman at

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