Diversity in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List – Is it enough?

When the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List came out we were delighted to see how many COVID unsung heroes were awarded. We even compiled a huge list of all the famous faces getting a knighthood and more. But today, we’re taking a look at what has turned out to be the most diverse Queen’s Honours List ever. We’ll review some amazing stats and talk about what that means for the UK as a whole.

Statistical overview of the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List

This year, 1,239 people were awarded and of those, 1,123 candidates received a BEM (397), MBE (476) or OBE (250). Of all the awards:

  • 65% received an award for community work, either volunteer or paid
  • 23% of recipients were awarded for COVID-19 service
  • 49% of awards were for women, but at the most senior levels, it’s only 39% female
  • 14.2% of awards went to nominees from a BAME background
  • 6.9% have a disability under the Equality Act of 2010; that rises to 9% when factoring in a long-term health condition
  • 17.3% self-report a lower socio-economic background
  • 5% self-identify as LGBT+

The BAME breakdown

For the 2021 Queen’s honours, the minority demographic breakdown is:

  • 6.8% self-report Asian
  • 4.2% self-report as Black
  • 3.3% self-report as Mixed 
  • 0.7% self-report as Other

LGBTQ+ restored honours

According to the Cabinet Office, “It is now possible for honours and medals to be restored to living individuals who had previously been convicted for offences which are no longer against the law. Eligible individuals who had seen their honours forfeited decades ago when it was illegal to be gay can now be pardoned under the provisions of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, the Policing and Crime Act 2017, and the Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) (Scotland) Act 2018, and a valid disregard determination obtained.” This applies to civil and military medals for living persons who had them removed due to their sexuality. It’s a great move for an institution that previously created and supported the restrictive and anti-LGBT laws of the UK. If this impacts you, let’s talk about how we can help you apply to have your honours restored.

Critical analysis of the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List

We’re delighted to see more representation from women and minority groups in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. A 5% LGBT+ nomination percentage is actually double national figures. And the male/female split was nearly 50/50. But there’s still a long way to go. At CBE level and above, only 39% are women. And less than 20% of successful nominees reported from lower social-economic backgrounds. A 6.9% representation under the Equality Act of 2010 might seem progressive, but 18% of the working-age UK population qualifies as disabled. So, on reflection, it’s not representative. There’s still balancing required before the Honours reflect modern British society. 
If you’d like to nominate someone for an award or talk about what a nomination might do for you; let’s chat. A Bayleaf, we live and breathe Honours. Let us help you craft the perfect award submission.