This year’s impending Queen’s Birthday Honours List shows a record increase (15%) in female recipients compared to January’s Australia Day Honours List. The highest honour– Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)– saw women outnumbering men by 10 percent. 60 percent of recipients were female.
Given these accolades have historically been male-dominated, it’s reassuring to note such a definitive shift in direction. In fact, nominations of women were 72 percent higher than five years ago.
In 2017, Anne Summers wrote about the lack of women on aforementioned Honours Lists saying the country needed to do more to “ensure that our lists of honourees look like the Australia that exists, where a wide range of people of both sexes excel as citizens and deserve our recognition, not just the usual safe white bread parade of businessmen and academics.”
It is encouraging to see that the Council for the Order of Australia has taken this advice on board so quickly and are working with a number of government and non-government agencies to support initiatives and programs which increase the percentage of women nominated.
Former Greens Leader Christine Milne, was among the individuals recognised. She made the Order of Australia for “distinguished service to the Australian and Tasmanian Parliaments and through domestic and global contributions to the protection and preservation of the natural environment”. Milne was recognised by her predecessor Bob Brown yesterday on Twitter.
Congratulations @ChristineMilne on your award as Officer of the Order of Australia. Christine Milne has been a visionary and action-taker in a Tasmania often bereft of thinking politicians. Bob Brown. #politas #auspol
— Bob Brown (@BobBrownFndn) June 11, 2018
As well as a shift in social awareness, recent surges of female nominees could also point to women being more digitally savvy than men. This year the Australian Honours and Awards Branch simplified the nominations process with a new electronic application form which saw a 71 percent increase in total nominations compared to 2017.