Matthew Rycroft CBE

Permanent secretary, Department for International Development
Taking up the mantle of permanent secretary for the Department for International Development last year, Rycroft has pledged to put "gender equality at the heart of everything we do", drive up standards and tackle sexual exploitation within the international development and aid sector. In his previous role as UK permanent representative to the United Nations, he launched a "gender compact" for the UK mission and worked to increase women’s participation in conflict resolution in some of the most fragile countries in the world: in Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan. Rycroft, the only civil servant in this year's list, is a member of the International Gender Champions Network.

She Says: "Few senior leaders understand that they need to not only engage in diversity and inclusion but to openly champion it, be willing to be challenged and tackle the barriers too. Matthew is leading the way for change." Zamila Bunglawala, deputy head of unit and deputy director strategy and policy, race disparity unit, Cabinet Office