NEW YEAR HONOURS: Women outnumber men for the first time.

Penelope Keith, Katherine Jenkins and Angela Lansbury head a glittering list of women receiving awards for their contributions to British national life

Inspirational women including Penelope Keith, the actress, and Katherine Jenkins, the opera singer, have outnumbered men for the first time in the New Year Honours List.

More than half of those recognised for their outstanding contribution to British society this year are women, up from 34 per cent a decade ago and just 17 per cent in 1974.

They range from sports stars like Ann Jones, 75, the 1969 Wimbledon champion, to business leaders such as Katherine “the Great” Garrett-Cox, 46, the chief executive of investment giant Alliance Trust, who are both appointed CBE.

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