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Steph follows in Dad’s footsteps
Stephanie Horton has been around CFA all her life, thanks to father Paul Horton who has served with CFA in various roles across the state.
***Stephanie Horton is a CFA volunteer who is being profiled as part of a special series ‘Celebrating CFA Women’ in recognition of International Women’s Day on 8 March***
“Dad has been with CFA since 1987, so we’ve lived in different parts of Victoria with his work.
“We’ve been in the north-east for eight years now, and before that we lived in Traralgon – and when I was really little we lived at Fiskville when Dad was a training instructor there.”
Stephanie, now living in Melbourne for her university studies, has made her way through the ranks of the Wangaratta Fire Brigade, starting as a Junior at the age of 12 and becoming a Senior at age 16.
Stephanie is fully equipped as an operational firefighter having completed her Minimum Skills in 2012, and hopes to get the chance to turn out to an incident soon.
Asked for her thoughts about barriers preventing more women from joining CFA, Stephanie said frankly, “I will admit there is still a big difference between men and women in CFA. CFA is very male orientated. However, at the same time the Junior brigade in Wangaratta currently has more females than males, which is good to see.
“It’s great to get them involved from a young age in a sport that is definitely unique to the area, and the girls coming through now are indicating that they want to stay on and make a move into the Seniors ranks."
Stephanie also believes the media could help by breaking down gender stereotypes around firefighting by showing more female firefighters.
“I don’t think the media helps when you only ever see a male fighter on TV giving an update about a big fire or an incident.
“I’m not saying there would be heaps of women out there fighting the fires but the media should show them more – it would help let the community know that it’s normal to see women out fighting fires.”
Stephanie believes that advantages CFA women have compared to their male counterparts are their expertise in multi-skilling and the ability to think and plan ahead on the way to jobs.
“On the way to a job on the truck a woman will be thinking about the best way to tackle this job and how can we get everyone working well together.”
If there are great women in your brigade you’d like to recognise this Women’s Day, we’d love to hear about them in the posts section below this story. Read more stories and watch a video from last year’s Celebrating CFA Women series here.
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