It also references her decades of work as a journalist and author – including several books and contributions to newspapers, magazines, radio and television – as well as her service on a number of government committees.
Ms Arndt said she did not expect the award to silence or mollify her critics, but it would make her supporters “rather happy” to see an alternative point of view receive the imprimatur of official recognition.
“I have no doubt my beliefs around these issues are shared by the majority of the population,” Ms Arndt said in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
“The mainstream media has unfortunately become dominated by a particular ideological clique which is totally out of whack with what quiet Australians think about these issues, with what ordinary people think about these issues.”
Ms Arndt said the wording of her citation for the award – in particular the use of the term gender equity – was “very interesting”.
“I think there are a lot of people who assume gender equity is all about continuing to advantage women at the expense of men – because they see women as still living in a patriarchal society,” she said. “But there are lots of areas in our society where men are being disadvantaged. There’s a lot of unfair treatment of boys and men which needs addressing.”
Ms Arndt said the main areas where men were disadvantaged were the persecution of accused sexual assault perpetrators by universities, the high male suicide rate and the narrative around domestic violence.
She said universities and residential colleges should not be allowed to investigate claims of sexual assault, because it was “usurping our criminal law system and setting up what are in effect kangaroo courts”.
The suicide epidemic among men required a tailored response rather than a gender-neutral one, Ms Arndt said.
She also said programs to combat domestic violence unjustly demonised men – despite men overwhelmingly being the perpetrators.
Ms Arndt said the link between misogyny and domestic violence applied only in “deeply misogynist” countries, naming Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia as examples.
She claimed there was no evidence of such a link in “egalitarian societies” such as Australia, the United States and Britain.
Michael Koziol is a political correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.