WARRNAMBOOL'S Vicki Jellie dreams of a day when numbers of quiet achieving women in the south-west honoured on Australia Day are equal to that of men.
She is hopeful this year could be the first where gender parity is achieved in the nation's top awards.
Ms Jellie became a member of the Order of Australia in 2018 when only one-in-three recipients of the award were women.
She received the honour following an eight-year campaign so cancer patients could receive treatment in the south-west.
Her efforts led to the South West Cancer Care Centre opening in 2016 after government lobbying and community fundraising.
Like many women making contributions to communities, Ms Jellie said she hadn't sought recognition.
"It's hard to get those people recognised," she said.
"A lot of the times they don't want to be recognised because that's not what they're looking for. They have a fire burning in their heart that they want to achieve something and just quietly do it."
She said the number of Australia Day honours for women would increase if community nominations included more women.
"It's not just a government thing," Ms Jellie said.
She said the region had outstanding female leaders, and she had nominated both a woman and man since her own award.
"Both genders do great things but it would be good to see some more gender parity across the board in life," Ms Jellie said.
The Victorian government launched a 'recognition matters' campaign a year ago, a first for Australia, directly nominating 200 Victorian women for Australia Day honours, while also encouraging Victorians to nominate women.
The state government claims the number of women in the Queen's Birthday Honours increased from 36 per cent in 2018 to 44 per cent last year following the campaign.
But there's still work to do, with overall only 30 per cent of recipients of Australian Honours women since the system was established in 1975.
Ms Jellie said she'd seen gradual improvement in the past decade.
"It's still not there yet," she said.
"Women are brave enough to speak up and be heard. They are starting to be listened to."
But she said recognition for her was most rewarding on a different scale.
"It's amazing when you do get a little message, and you see someone down the main street and they've had great care," Ms Jellie said.
"We always get excellent feedback that people are receiving great care for radiotherapy, chemotherapy or clinical trials.
"That makes you proud and happy that the legacy we built in 2016 is continuing to give back."
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