British gay women make The Pink List

British newspaper The Independent has published their 10th Annual Pink List of the 101 most influential lesbian and gay people in Britain.

In a thoughtful introduction to the list, the writer questioned if the list was even necessary anymore now that LGBT people have made such great personal, professional and social strides.

The Independent wrote:

…is the list anachronistic? Is it patronizing to gay people? We feared it might be — and went in search of a leading gay or lesbian figure to say so. None of those we contacted wanted to. Their verdict? The Pink List remains indispensable, a celebration of a community that is integral to the British way of life.

Topping the list this year is Peter Mandelson (First Secretary of State; Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills; Lord President of the Council), and we don’t see the first woman on the list until number 5, U.S. singer Beth Ditto.

Two couples made the list, writer Jeanette Winterson (number 73) and director Deborah Warner (number 66), and BBC sports announcer Alice Arnold(number 99) and presenter Claire Balding (number 22).

As is often the case in U.S. lists of the same type (e.g. OUT Magazine‘s Power 50), lesbian and bisexual women make up a much smaller portion of the list. Of the 101 people mentioned, only 22 are women. In an another unfortunate similarity to many other lists of this sort, there are only a handful of LGBT people of color included in it.

Below are the 22 women who made the Pink List this year:

5. Beth Ditto (lead singer, The Gossip)

7. Phyllida Lloyd (director of film Mama Mia!, Tony-nominated theatre director)

9. Carol Ann Duffy (Britain’s poet laureate)

15. Dawn Airey (TV executive)

18. Sandi Toksvig (comedian, columnist)

22. Clare Balding  (presenter, former jockey)

23. Sarah Waters (writer)

46. Margot James (Conservative Party Vice-Chair)

47. Angela Eagle (Treasury minister)

55. Fiona Shaw (actress)

56. Tamsin Omond (eco activist)

58. Sue Perkins (TV personality)

62. Ashley Steele (businesswoman)

Eileen Gallagher
(TV executive)

66. Deborah Warner (director)

71. Lt. Cmdr. Mandy McBain (Royal Navy officer)

73. Jeanette Winterson (writer)

80. Janet Paraskeva (civil servant)

81. Zoe Lyons (comedian)

91. Ali Smith (writer)

94.  Val McDermid (writer)

99. Alice Arnold (BBC sports announcer)

It’s interesting to see that so many of the women in the list are in business and politics, and that writers are well-represented in the small group of women. The same list in a U.S. publication would likely have far fewer of women from those professions and far more from the world of entertainment, which says a lot about who “influences” U.S. culture.

What do you think of the 2009 Pink List?