About Honour a Woman

Who we are:

In March 2017, three community-minded, businesswomen co-founded the Honour a Woman movement. Dr Elizabeth Hartnell-Young is an activist, researcher, writer and presenter with experience in schools and higher education.  Carol Kiernan is an Intelligence and Communications consultant working to achieve safer and more empowered communities. Ruth McGowan OAM is a community leader with a passion for advancing women’s equality and leadership in local government and rural Australia.

Our Goals:

We are a movement of volunteer Australians working towards gender equality in the Australian honours system. We seek 50/50 female/male nominations for Australian honours by 2020.

Honour a Woman 2017-2020 – Working for gender equality in the Australian honours. Cartoon by Honour a Woman ambassador, cartoonist, artist, writer and children’s book creator, Judy Horacek.


Since the Order of Australia was established in 1975, men have consistently received over 70 per cent of the Australian honours awards. We don’t think that’s equitable. It also denies women the right to be represented accurately on the public record for their achievements and contributions to Australia.

Gender inequality in the Australian honours system begins with fewer nominations for women. Moreover, women are less likely to be a nominator and both men and women nominate men in greater numbers for an award.

Australian honours are predominantly conferred on older men from Anglo-Saxon backgrounds at the higher levels, while women are clustered in the lowest, Medal of the Order (OAM), category.

For example, between 2012 and 2016 men received 56 Companion (AC) awards while women were awarded only 12 or 17 per cent of the awards.

Need more motivation to get cracking? Watch this video