Record Number of Women Honoured in Queen’s Birthday Awards
11 June 2018 at 12:05 am
Philanthropists and not-for-profit sector leaders have topped the honours in the 2018 Queen’s birthday awards, in a year that has seen a significant increase in nominations and awards for women.
The Governor-General and Chancellor of the Order of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) approved 1,007 awards this year, which were announced on Monday in the Queen’s Birthday 2018 Honours List.
Included in the list were Dawn Fraser (AC); Bravery Trust chairman Peter Fitzpatrick (AO); Australian Red Cross aid worker Bob Handby (AO); the inaugural CEO of the National Mental Health Commission and NDIA board member Robyn Kruk (AO); World Federation of the Deaf president Colin Allen (AM); Jawun CEO Karyn Baylis (AM); former UnitingCare Queensland CEO Anne Cross (AM); and Uniting Aged Care Victoria and Tasmania inaugural chair Janet Wood.
Philanthropists including Max Beck (AO), John Higgins (AO), Samantha Meers (AO), Andrew Sisson (AO), Anita Belgiorno-Nettis (AM) and Morry Fraid (AM) were also acknowledged, alongside Australia’s “Pokie King”, businessman and philanthropist Len Ainsworth, who was awarded an AM.
The list recognises a diverse range of contributions and service across all fields, including professional endeavours, community work, Australia’s Defence Force and Emergency Services.
The governor-general said he offered his “deepest congratulations, admiration and respect” to the recipients for their contribution to the nation.
“We are fortunate as a community to have so many outstanding people willing to dedicate themselves to the betterment of our nation and it is only fitting that they have today been recognised through the Australian Honours system,” Cosgrove said.
“Since 1975 these awards have helped to define, encourage and reinforce Australian goals and values. They identify role models who give without thought of recognition or personal gain.
“Today’s recipients now join the company of many women and men whose meritorious and brave actions have enriched our community and our lives. Their qualities – compassion, dedication, generosity, selflessness, tolerance, and energetic ambition – inspire and motivate us.”
This year marked a significant increase in nominations and awards for women in the Order of Australia.
Following a campaign to honour more women in the community, the list showed a record 15 per cent increase in female recipients compared to the Australia Day 2018 Honours List.
At the highest level – Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) – 60 per cent of all recipients were women, which marks the first time women have outnumbered men at any level in an Australian honours list.
The success rate for nominations of women was 77.6 per cent for the 2018 Queen’s birthday honours list, which was 10 per cent higher than the success rate for men and continues the long-term trend for nominations of women being more successful than those for men.
White Ribbon Australia CEO Libby Davies, who was awarded an AM for significant service to the community through leadership and advisory roles with a range of social welfare organisations, told Pro Bono News it was wonderful to see the increase in recognition for women.
“I have been part of the movement which has been fostering the nomination of more women, to see them recognised duly that we are equal citizens in this country and that the recognition of Australian women absolutely needs to be just as vital and important as that of Australian men,” Davies said.
“Unfortunately much of the structures still in Australia have a very gendered lens. And so what we’re doing, through the work of White Ribbon Australia as one example, is to actually identify that gender lens and the impact of that gendered lens on creating a truly gender equal and equitable society.
“So I think it’s wonderful to see the increase in recognition of the powerful role that women play alongside and standing together with men to create a better Australia.”
She said she was “chuffed” to be recognised in this year’s awards.
“I am very honored and amazed by the recognition and very humbled to be amidst so many wonderful Australians who have contributed to the fabric of our community in many complex, varied and wonderful ways that have absolutely enriched Australia,” Davies said.
“To be recognised is a lovely gesture that what you have done and what you will continue to do is a vital part of what makes Australia a wonderful country.”
Chair of the Council of the Order of Australia, Shane Stone AC QC encouraged Australians to nominate their fellow citizens.
“The awards in the Order of Australia are public recognition of those who provide outstanding community and public service to the wider community,” Stone said.
“These merit based awards considered by the independent Council of the Order of Australia recognise ‘quiet achievers’ and excellence in our broader Australian community across a wide spectrum of activity.
“Australians are encouraged to nominate fellow citizens who have made an outstanding contribution for consideration in the Honours List. An award in the Order of Australia is entirely dependent on nominations by the public.”