Queen's Birthday Honours List Sees Proportion Of Women Honoured At A Four-Year Low

And they were doing so well...

11/06/2016 09:12

The proportion of women named in the Queen's Birthday Honours list is at a four-year low.

Many had previously welcomed a rising proportion over the past few years, with 2015 seeing more women actually named than men (51.2%).

But this year women made up just 47% of the recipients, with 538 being recognised, according to the Press Association.

Among them were veteran entertainer Dame Vera Lynn, journalist Janet Street-Porter, Paralympian Martine Wilshere and actress Penelope Wilton.

Street-Porter, who received a CBE for services to journalism and broadcasting, commented: “I accepted this honour on behalf of older people whose experiences and expertise can contribute so much and who often feel invisible, overlooked in the workplace and portrayed as ‘problems’ in the media.

“Ageing is a positive process, and I want to celebrate that. I’ve enjoyed working across the media for nearly 50 years and still feel an outsider- which is a source of great strength.”

Dame Vera, 99, joined the likes of Sir David Attenborough, Dame Maggie Smith and Stephen Hawking in becoming a Companion of Honour, as did former governor of the BBC, Lord Smith of Kelvin.

She said she was “surprised” to be on the list, adding: “I felt very greatly honoured to be given a Damehood and never expected to receive anything else. So for Her Majesty to bestow a further accolade on me is very unexpected and I feel even more honoured.”

Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
Dame Vera Lynn was honoured in the list

Wiltshire, a Team GB sitting volleyball player and Paralympian, who lost both her legs in the London 7/7 bombings, was awarded an MBE.

The 43-year-old said: “I believe the power of sport has healed me, and hopefully I am an example of that.

“But I am not accepting this award just for me. I am going to accept for all those volunteers and all those people that helped put me together, and those that support the power of sport.”

Featured on the diplomatic service and overseas list was Baroness Amos, who was recommended to the Companion of Honour for services to the United Nations and emergency relief.

Olivier award winning actress Wilton was made a Dame for her services to drama, one of 13 women to be bestowed the honour.

Nineteen men were awarded knighthoods, among them was Damon Buffini - recently appointed chairman of the National Theatre - for voluntary and charitable services, and artist Michael Craig-Martin for services to art.

The list also saw the greatest number of people so far - 90 - from a Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background to be honoured, the Press Association reported. This is, however, just 7.8%.

Veteran singer Rod Stewart, British astronaut Tim Peake, TV duo Ant and Dec and actor Brian Blessed are among 1,149 people to also be acclaimed on the list.

Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Tim Peake was awarded an Order of St Michael and St George

In another record for Major Peake, his CMG - Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George - made him the first person to be honoured while in space.

Major Peake, awarded for space research and scientific education, said from the International Space Station: “I am honoured to receive the first appointment to the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George for extraordinary service beyond our planet.”

Ant and Dec said being made OBEs would be the achievement their mothers would be proudest of.

They said: “We hope us receiving this honour can inspire young people to chase their dreams and believe that anything is possible.

“This will definitely be the proudest our mams have ever been.”

Responding to being given an OBE for services to the arts and charity, Blessed said: “This is a complete surprise. I am absolutely delighted.

“It is marvellous that the son of a Yorkshire coal miner should be given such an honour.”

A string of stars from the sporting world were also recognised for their achievements, with record-breaking England cricket captain Alastair Cook and former England football skipper Alan Shearer receiving CBEs for their services to cricket and charity, respectively.

Following Great Britain’s triumph in the Davis Cup, Andy Murray’s older brother Jamie Murray was given an OBE for services to tennis and charity, and Cup captain Leon Smith received the same honour for his services to the sport.

Simon Cooper/PA Wire
Jamie Murray was awarded an OBE

Despite calls for England’s 1966 World Cup winning squad to be knighted in The Queen’s 90th birthday honours - to mark the 50th anniversary of the famous win - none of them featured on the list.

Asked about this, Sir Jonathan Stephens, chairman of the Main Honours Committee, said: “We do not comment on names and nominations that are not on the list. A number of the World Cup squad have been included in the past.”

Writer Paul Bede Johnson was given a CBE for his services to literature, and John Micklethwait, former editor-in-chief of the Economist, received the same honour for services to journalism and economics.

Nobel prize winner Professor Angus Stewart Deaton joined the Order of the British Empire and Knight Bachelor for his services to research in economics and international affairs.

He was accompanied by Lucian Grainge, chairman and chief executive of Universal Music Group - instrumental in the careers of artists like Amy Winehouse, The Rolling Stones and Sam Smith - for services to British business and inward investment.

Seventy per cent of the awards went to people who had undertaken outstanding work in or for their local community, either in a voluntary or paid capacity. Around 10.8% were for work in education and 7.3% in health.

Industry and the economy made up 12.8% of the list, with science and technology honours making up 3.3%.

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