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D15 Women’s Reference Group leads the way for change

  | Holly Penketh Views: 455

International Women's Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. 

D15 Women’s Reference Group leads the way for change

This image was taken prior to COVID-19 restrictions

The IWD theme for 2021 is ‘Choose to Challenge’.  A challenged world is an alert world.  Collectively, we can create an inclusive and more gender-equal world. Our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society. Collectively, we can make change happen

CFA has a number of activities and events running to celebrate IWD you can view a full list of these and register for an event near you on the CFA Intranet.

Choose to Challenge IWD Event

The District 15 Women’s Reference Group (WRG) is hosting a CFA Statewide International Women’s Day event online and in person on Sunday 14 March 2021.

The conference kicks off at 2pm and includes a guest speaker and short presentations from brigades, groups and networks from around the state on successful initiatives they have introduced to increase female participation. 

Members can view the full details of the event, joining online, its locations and how to register on the CFA Intranet. Registrations for the event close Friday 5 March.

Ballarat City Fire Brigade Captain Nicole McGrath has been involved in the D15 WRG since it first started nearly four years ago.

“Having been in CFA for almost 20 years at the time of first starting the group, I felt that there were some gaps that needed addressing,” Nicole said. “Assistant Chief Fire Officer Brett Boatman approached women to take part and assist in the setup of the group.

“I was part of that initial group and assisted Margret Lockwood to develop the governance documents for the group to consider and adopt and to act as an initial District Planning Committee (DPC) representatives along with her.

“I have held a variety of roles in my brigade and group and am currently Captain of the Ballarat City Fire Brigade as well as a volunteer trainer and assessor.

“I currently form part of the WRG executive team and have been elected to be one of two representatives on the DPC.

“Being part of the DPC is a huge achievement for the WRG as it gives us a direct line to the ACFO, provides us with leadership opportunities and builds supportive networks with men.

“The idea first started for the D15 IWD event at one of our group meetings,” Nicole added. “We all wanted a forum to be able to share experiences on what different districts are doing to engage and support women, what works well and what perhaps doesn’t.

“It’s great to see how much interest our event has got. I’m most excited to hear what ideas other members have across the state and generally converse with different districts.

“I usually take part in district level IWD events here in Ballarat. It’s an important day to celebrate as we have women doing some really important work, but there is even more work to be done.”

D15 WRG Chair and Cardigan Windermere Brigade Member Michelle Phillips said IWD is a day to reflect and celebrate our successes.

“I think people often don’t take time as groups or individuals to reflect on what they have achieved. IWD gives us an opportunity to do that," Michelle said.

“The D15 WRG has successfully seen female volunteers formally accepted into both DPC and all Sub-committees for our District,” Michelle added. “This is a landmark achievement as women now have the opportunity to be involved in decision-making across the district and something we’ll be talking more about at the IWD event.

“Having three daughters and a son all now in CFA, I felt it was my obligation to make CFA an even better more inclusive place for them to volunteer.  

“I’m looking forward to the IWD event to encourage initiatives to promote women’s involvement in CFA as it’s a win win all round.

“Currently the number of women in CFA doesn’t reflect our wider community. We need to create interest and show how we support all memberships in CFA.

“We had aimed to hold this event last year but due to COVID-19 restrictions we had to reschedule,” Michelle added. “It has actually allowed us to promote the event more widely as members are more confident with online technology and people can join online from all over the state.

“IWD events are for everyone not just women; we need the support of men too.”

Members can register for the event and find out more on the CFA Intranet.