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It’s no secret that the past year and a half or so has given rise to one of the most unsettling and disruptive times that business has ever experienced during peacetime. Many businesses ground to a virtual halt when the pandemic hit, and several more found their activities severely curtailed. Often, when the financial chips are down, businesses retrench, focusing on their core activities and paying less attention to the “nice-to-haves” in favour of the “must-haves”, leading to the understandable worry that Diversity might become less of a priority.

While this may be true for some businesses, it seems to me that the case for Diversity is so overwhelming that, even in the worst downturn that Britain has seen in 300 years outside of times of war or conflict, many companies maintained their commitment to the values of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at a time when their staff needed it most. When you’re worried about the implications to your livelihood of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to feel valued, and it is a tribute to many of the people in the 2021 Global Diversity List that, despite the uncertainty they may have been feeling in their own lives, they have stepped up to the plate to ensure that fairness and equity did not become two further casualties of Covid-19.

Over the past year and a half I have spoken to dozens – perhaps hundreds – of people who feel grateful to those people in their place of work who have kept their staff networks going, have ensured that the Diversity agenda is not sidelined and have kept in touch with furloughed and working-from-home staff to ensure that they continue to feel like a valued member of the team. Many of these outstanding people are honoured in our 2021 list, and every single one of them deserves our gratitude.

While the pandemic has delivered plummeting revenue for many charities, demand for their services has increased hugely. That’s why, this year more than any other, I want to pay my personal respects to everyone in our charity category, and to all those who we were unable to include but who continue to undertake such invaluable work. The third sector has always played a pivotal role in life globally, with many leading figures going unrecognised and underappreciated. So this year, let’s send our appreciation to all those charity, not-for-profit and third sector workers who have done so much to protect so many of us from the ravages of the pandemic.

Despite society heading in a more progressive direction, there is no doubt that people remain at a disadvantage because of their sex, age, physical abilities, ethnicity, sexuality and other immutable characteristics. When people ask me why we need the Global Diversity List, my answer is quite simple. These awards honour those doing outstanding work in Diversity, Equality and wellbeing, and inspire others too. Until the day comes when we can say that nobody is undervalued purely because of who they are, who they love, what they look like or how they worship, we will proudly continue to shine a light on everyone who works to make the world a fairer and more equal place to be.

Thank you!


Linda Riley,


Global Diversity List

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