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CFA connecting women
CFA is dedicated to supporting women and recently hosted a CFA Volunteer Network forum in Sale on Sunday, 6 August.
The forum aimed to establish a women’s network amongst existing volunteers and to encourage local women to be a part of this great organisation.
While the history of CFA suggests that it has been mostly male dominated, the tide is changing.
Twenty women from around Central Gippsland including Linda Lord from Seaton Fire Brigade and Karen Whitehurst, Captain of Newry Fire Brigade attended the event.
Guest speaker Dee Dorber from Sale Fire Brigade said the day was about using new thinking to solve problems.
“It is also about evolving CFA to be reflective of the community it serves,” said Dee.
Another event is scheduled to be held on Sunday, 13 August in Latrobe Valley.
District 10 Operations Manager Allan Rankin said CFA is evolving to be more inclusive across the board.
“The ladies attending Sunday’s forum will be instrumental in taking this district forward on that journey,” Allan said.
The newly established network workshopped creative thinking and sourced ideas that could assist greater female participation.
Erika Lind is a local CFA volunteer and Board member of Women and Firefighters in Australasia and spoke about her own experience and something many women would be able to relate to, ‘Covering.’
“Often in order to fit in, we’ll create a cover of ourselves to best fit the group we are surrounded by,” Erika said.
“Instead of just being ourselves we are covering who we really are, and therefore not expressing our true selves.
“It is essential for every female to be true to themselves, and help the next generation feel comfortable to also be themselves and stop pretending to be ‘one of the boys’.
The network will continue to look at ways to support existing female members develop and will take on the challenge of encouraging more women to move into CFA leadership positions.
Louise Haughton, member of the CFA Volunteer Sustainability Team with said CFA isn’t in the 1980’s anymore, and it is recognised everywhere the importance of volunteers keeping the fire trucks turning out to the communities.
“We simply need more members, and at the moment we feel there is a relatively untapped female population out there. We NEED you,” Louise said.