By Marjorie Voss OAM
As the proud recipient of an OAM within the Australian honours system I have noted that in Queensland there appears to be a smaller percentage of women as against men who are recipients. There are women and men who devote their lives to making a positive contribution to society in some way, but keep a low profile, never expecting recognition. So why are more men nominated than women? Is it because the women are seen by other women as just doing what women have always done? Quite often a woman with a high profile may be nominated as her face is “out there”.
I mention the above as women may not nominate women as they see them as volunteers just as they are. Men of course quite often may not realize what a difference women make with the work they do in a community and so do not think of nominating them. It appears that men and women are more inclined to nominate a man who they consider worthy of an award.
Statistics show that over the past 3 years in Queensland approximately 317 males as against 152 females received an award within The Order of Australia. It is not only in Queensland that this is shown. At the annual National Conference of the Order of Australia Assn. held in Sydney in March this year, this was a discussion point on the Agenda. I, as well as delegates from most States, spoke of their concerns that more worthy women were not being nominated.
The Australian honours system celebrates the outstanding achievements and contributions of extraordinary Australians in a diverse range of fields and areas of endeavor. It is about recognizing those people in the community whose service and contributions have had the effect of making a significant difference to Australian life or, more broadly, to humanity at large.
The Australian honours system recognises the actions and achievements of people who go above and beyond what could be reasonably expected, and in doing so, encourages national aspirations and ideals of the highest community standards and values. Recipients are people from all spheres of the community. Any individual, community organization, professional body or similar group can nominate an Australian citizen for an award.
I encourage you to look around your communities and within your organisations and consider whether there is someone who might meet the criteria to be nominated. I am not writing this article because I consider there is any discrimination. I am writing as a member who considers it an honour to be chosen for an award and who feels there are many more women working voluntarily in our communities who at least deserve to be nominated.
As this article is already longer than it should be, I will be including in the next Newsletter a little more information on the honours system and some tips to help you with a nomination.