Approaching Gender Parity For Australia Day Honours

Victoria has come closer than ever before to having an equal number of women and men recognised in Australia Day Honours.

In this year’s awards, women make up 49.6 per cent of recipients – the best ever result for Victorian women representation in the Australian honours system.

Since the awards were established in 1975, on average only 30 per cent of recipients have been women.

The Andrews Labor Government has been working to turn this around and achieve gender parity, in recognition of the many contributions of notable Victorian women.

Recognition Matters was launched in early 2019 with a target of increasing the number of women honourees.

The first of its kind in Australia, the program directly nominates 200 Victorian women a year but also encourages community members to make further nominations with online tools and info sessions held across the state.

A website provides practical tools and information, in consultation with women advocates and leaders, on how to nominate.

The program has delivered a significant increase in the proportion of honours awarded to Victorian women – from 35 per cent (69 women to 130 men) in the 2018 Australia Day Honours to 43 per cent (141 women to 188 men) in 2019.

Traditionally, women are largely represented among the Medal of the Order (OAM) level – the largest category of the honours.

In 2020, women outnumber men in the higher honours, the Companion of the Order (AC) and Member of the Order (AM).

The Northern Territory first achieved gender parity in the Australia Day Honours in 2018, when two women and two men were honoured.

It remains the only jurisdiction to have achieved at least 50 per cent women representation.

The Labor Government continues to promote the achievements of Victorian women, with the Bracks Labor Government having established the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2001.

It has also partnered with the Honour a Woman movement, which also aims to increase the representation of women in Victorian honours. For more information, visit vic.gov.au/recognition-matters.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams

“Nominating a woman for an Australia Day Honour increases the number of role models for young Victorian women to look to – we can’t be what we can’t see.”

“We’re the only state with an initiative to drive a gender balance in Australia’s highest honours and ensure Victorian women get the kudos they deserve.”