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Women and CFA
With women making up only about 20 per cent of CFA's membership, we need to encourage more women to participate to have a more representative volunteer and career workforce.
In the past, CFA members have attended a myriad of events to recognise women, but we haven't had an opportunity to focus on recognition of our own 12000+ female members around the State. Following a statewide survey conducted in November 2013, a key outcome was for CFA to focus on recognition of female members.
This year on Friday 7 March, to coincide with International Women's Day, CFA is hosting a luncheon for 150 CFA women. International Women's Day celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action. This special luncheon will bring CFA members and partner organisations together to celebrate the contributions of women to CFA. I'm honoured to be speaking at the event as are Mr Ken Lay, Chief Commissioner of Police, Mary Crooks AO, Executive Director, Victorian Women's Trust and The Hon Heidi Victoria, Minister for Women's Affairs
Advancing the participation and involvement of women within CFA now and into the future remains a shared responsibility. Whilst International Women's Day is about recognising the achievements of women it is also about looking to the future, challenging the status quo for women's equality and inspiring positive change. There are no females above Senior Station Officer in the career ranks. This must change. CFA is inherently conservative but committed to a significant and sustainable improvement in women in leadership roles and values their different communication styles, decision making, skills and experience. CFA will challenge our existing processes, culture and biases to make this happen. Words are important but actions will demonstrate commitment.
At the luncheon, the Minister of Women's Affairs, will launch the CFA booklet ‘Celebrating CFA Women'. The booklet features 20 concise stories about individual women and groups of women from across the State, celebrates their acts of courage and determination and the extraordinary role they play in their communities. The stories represent the wide-ranging contributions of all CFA women, both on the fireground and behind the scenes.
In May, a forum will be held to capture members' ideas around how to make CFA a more representative workforce, demonstrating our commitment to action.
- Happy International Women's Day!