Female nominees and recipients for Order of Australia honours this Australia Day are the highest they've been in five years, as the council for the awards battles to increase the rate of women being recognised.
Women have consistently been under-represented in the awards since the inception of the honours in 1975, with an average nomination rate at less than 30 per cent. However this year, the recipient rate for women in the awards on January 26 is up by almost five per cent on the average from the past five years, and nominations have also increased.
The recipient rate for women this Australia Day is at 34.7 per cent, up from 30.3 per cent in 2016.
The female nomination rate has increased to 32.9 per cent, up from 31.1 per cent in the Australia Day ceremony last year.
A spokesman for the Australian Honours and Awards Branch at the Office of the Governor-General said they were "acutely aware" of the problem. But, he said the issue was with the Australian public, not the awards themselves.
The spokesman said the gender balance in Order of Australia awards was proportionate to the gender balance of the nominations received and considered.
"The council is only able to make recommendations based on the nominations it receives. To be able to announce awards in the Order of Australia which better reflect the Australian population, we need more nominations for women," he said.
So why do Australians nominate more men than women?
According to shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh it's because women often work behind the scenes.
"The honours system can overlook traditionally feminised work, such as volunteering at a local community organisation every day for 30 years, in favour of traditionally male work, such as leading large organisations," Dr Leigh said.
"It's a job for each of us to think about people who might have been overlooked, and to consider whether we might bring those quiet achievers to the attention of the honours secretariat."
Dr Leigh said the honours system reflected who we were as a nation.
"If we ignore the vital community work of women, then we're not telling a complete story about the local champions who are strengthening our social fabric."
"The task for all of us in the future is to make sure we nominate as many talented women as men."
The Australian Honours and Awards Branch spokesman said they would "very much like to see more nominations for, and from, women" to combat their under-representation.
He said the honours and awards system operates to acknowledge the contributions and service of all Australians, but "this is in the hands of Australians who decide to nominate".
ANU associate professor of philosophy Fiona Jenkins said while incremental change was a step in the right direction, it was also a slow way to get to where the country should be.
She said the nomination rate also aligned with what counted as an achievement.
"Women's work is often undervalued simply because it's women's work," Ms Jenkins said.
She said drastic change was needed, but that would mean taking a proactive approach to the decision making process.
"The question is if you're not getting 50/50, why aren't you and that's quite a strong incentive for people to look at things more closely and make it happen," Ms Jenkins said.