Order for more extraordinary women

Narelle Hargreaves… “I’d like to see younger women and men getting awards,” she says. Photo by Danielle Nohra

ORDER of Australia recipient Frances Rose couldn’t understand why there was so many extraordinary women in the community, yet the number of men being recognised still far outweighed the women.

So Frances, with her friends Dr Bill Maiden and Narelle Hargreaves formed a sub-committee of the ACT branch of the Order of Australia Association and together have been encouraging the Canberra community to nominate its community-focused women.

They’ve written to the heads of organisations, they have been to see the Office for Women, and now, they want to get the word out to the community.

“There’s some absolutely fantastic women who are working so hard and they should be recognised,” says Narelle, 76, of Latham.

It’s no secret that men recipients outweigh the women every year, and Narelle says even the governor-general has outwardly said he’d like to see more women nominated.

“I’m not really into quotas because I like to think people got the award on their ability and capability,” she says.

“But then again I’m into affirmative action for women, so I want to see really outstanding women nominated, because there’s many of them.”

Narelle and the committee still want to see men continue to be nominated because, she says, there’s some fantastic fellows doing some great stuff, but she wants people to be more aware of the women doing similar amazing things, too.

“I’d like to see younger women and men getting awards as well,” she says.

“It’s sad that a lot of amazing women [and men] have to wait until they’re older to be recognised.”

Narelle, who received the medal of the Order of Australia in 2008, says the award is a real honour and privilege.

“It’s provided me with opportunities to speak at different groups,” she says.

She even believes it opened many opportunities for her and led her to other achievements such as being named the Canberra Citizen of the Year in 2016 for her commitment to vulnerable children and young people in the ACT through various roles.

And, Narelle jokes: “If I want somebody to really listen to what I have to say, I put [the OAM title] in emails and letters.”

She calls herself a “lifelong volunteer” and believes that people who belong to something should be an active participant.

“I always made sure I was doing something in the community,” she says.

“In my view I believe you should not be getting a gong just for your work.

“I like to see that there is something more to that person. I’d like to think that the person was involved in contributing to the community as well.

“That’s the sort of person that should be given the gong.”

Narelle and the ACT branch of the Order of Australia also want people to know how easy it is to apply online.

“People have this misconception that you have to write all this stuff,” she says.

For example, if people don’t know four referees connected to the person they’re nominating, they can write down organisation or business names and Government House will cipher out the missing information.

“It’s not hard, it just takes a little bit of time and a little bit of thought and away you go,” she says.

It’s even easier with the help of Narelle, Frances and Bill, who are always happy to have a chat about the nomination process, especially if it means more women will get nominated and more women will be successful in receiving the award.

“Let’s join together and we can all promote women,” she says.

For nomination help contact Narelle on 6254 4209 or by emailing chindit@ozemail.com.au

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