Ahead of the 2020 Queen's Birthday Order of Australia awards, community organisation Honour a Woman and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency are calling for a bigger push for more equality in the awards system, and are asking all Australians to nominate more women for awards. Since the Order of Australia was established in 1975, men have consistently received around 70% of the Australian Honours.
“Honour a Woman is proud that since we began three years ago, the number of women nominated for an honour has more than doubled,” says Elizabeth Hartnell-Young, co-founder of Honour a Woman. “However, we are still far from gender parity. We look forward to the nomination and selection process including and recognising more women at all levels of the honours system.”
Statistics provided by the Governor General’s Office to Honour a Woman clearly illustrate the gender disparities in last year’s round of Queen’s Birthday Order of Australia Awards:
- Out of the 31 categories, 28 had more male than female nominees
- Education, Conservation & the Environment and Library & Related Occupations were the only categories with more female nominees
- 4 categories had no female nominees at all
- In the Community category, where it might be expected women would be more evenly represented, 59% of nominees were male (772 out of 1313)
- In Sport, 71% of nominees (136 out of 192) and 70% of award recipients (103 out of 148) were male
- In Law, 75% of nominees (47 out of 63) and 73% of award recipients (38 out of 52) were male
- 62% of all nominees (1804 out of 2910) and 62% of all award recipients (1312 out of 2129) were male
“These statistics from last year’s Queen’s Birthday and Australia Day honours lists show that women’s invaluable work in our society, economy and community is still not being properly recognised,” said Libby Lyons, Director, Workplace Gender Equality Agency and an Ambassador for Honour a Woman.
“I’m especially disappointed by the low representation of women in the Law category. The Agency’s data shows that women comprise 54% of all managers and 69% of all employees in the legal services industry yet they accounted for only 25% of nominees in this category.
“I urge all Australian employers to recognise the achievements of their accomplished female employees by nominating them for an award.”
“Recognising Australia’s female role models benefits us all,” said Carol Kiernan, co-founder of Honour a Woman. “Embedding gender equality into the Order of Australia ensures women of merit don’t get overlooked. Let’s honour more young women and women from diverse backgrounds for their vital contributions.”
“If you’ve been inspired by women stepping up as leaders in response to the recent bushfires, nominate them for an Order of Australia,” said Ruth McGowan OAM, co-founder of Honour a Woman and the former Mayor of Baw Baw Shire in Victoria. “We need to acknowledge the significant service of women leaders in our community, local government and emergency support agencies for their outstanding leadership during this difficult and challenging time for our nation.”