Photo: Boneo Fire Brigade members (left to right) Lieutenant Clair Arnold, Firefighter Paige Johnstone, Firefighter Cassie Serpell.
CFA is celebrating the invaluable contribution and achievements of its women membership this International Women’s Day (IWD) today.
Women make up tens of thousands of volunteer and staff roles within CFA and are critically important to the organisation’s continued progress and service in protecting Victorian lives and property.
CFA has more than 4,300 women in operational volunteer roles and more than 7,410 women in non-operational volunteer support roles, as well as another 390 involved in CFA’s junior program.
Boneo Fire Brigade is one brigade that continues to push boundaries and has a strong membership of women, with 11 female members, making up almost half of the brigade’s membership.
Boneo 4th Lieutenant Clair Arnold said the women of the brigade come from all walks of life and have firefighting experience ranging from 26 years to six months.
“The world is changing, and CFA brigades are no exception,” she said. We pride ourselves on providing the same opportunities to every person at our brigade.
“Women in our brigade fill a range of roles in brigade management, firefighting and support, such as Lieutenant, Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and Junior Leaders.
“These women all come from different backgrounds and have such different skills that contribute greatly to our brigade; I’m a horse trainer, meanwhile we have women working in hospitality, disability support, retirees, business owners, a studying teacher, a barrister and a mother of two.”
CFA CEO Natalie MacDonald said International Women’s Day is an opportunity for Victorians to recognise what women bring to their communities.
“It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on the huge contributions women make to brigades and communities.
“Improving diversity and inclusion in CFA and the wider community is something everyone can play a part in. CFA has so many fantastic leaders who are continuing to shape our organisation to be a more inclusive place to volunteer and work now and into the future.”
CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said he remains focused on fostering an environment that encourages women to pursue all opportunities.
“I will always be proud of the strength, skill and determination demonstrated by the women that make up our organisation – standing up for their communities in times of need,” he said.
Clair had a word of encouragement for women across Victoria who have considered stepping up for their community in a volunteer role with CFA.
“I was apprehensive when I first joined but any nerves I had were quickly quashed when I was met with such a welcoming team of members,” she said.
“I understand others may feel apprehensive in the same way, but I strongly encourage other women to take that leap – you will be greatly supported at CFA and brigades can find a role that suits your needs.”
To join CFA, visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/ volunteer. For more information about International Women’s Day, visit www.internationalwomensday.com.