Mary Stott, née Waddington, was born and brought up in Leicester, England, the daughter of two journalists. Her mother took her to meetings of local women Liberals and charity fundraising events, activities that she later credited with awakening her to social issues. She graduated from Wyggeston Grammar School at age 17 and went straight to work for the Leicester Mail. In 1933, she moved to the weekly Co-operative News in Manchester. In 1937, she married Ken Stott, a fellow journalist and editor of the News Chronicle, with whom she had a daughter. In 1945, she went to work for the Manchester Evening News as a sub-editor, and in 1957, she arrived at The Guardian to edit the women's page, a position she held until 1972. At The Guardian, she turned a section focused on fashion, cookery, and housekeeping tips into a a platform for women's voices and concerns about social justice. Over the years, she received many awards and honorary degrees and was acclaimed as the consummate newspaperwoman. She wrote two volumes of autobiography, Forgetting's No Excuse (1973), and Before I Go (1985), and edited Women Talking (1987). She was made an OBE in 1975.