CFA prepares to mark 16 Days of Activism

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Tomorrow marks the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an annual campaign held from 25 November – 10 December.


Message from Deputy Chief Officer Operational Response & Coordination Garry Cook AFSM

The 16 Days of Activism campaign aims to create a future where everyone feels safe, equal and respected. It runs every year from 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to 10 December (Human Rights Day). 

At CFA, prioritising gender equality is an action of significant importance to us. We have taken a number of steps over the past few years to ensure women within our ranks and within our communities feel safe and supported. 

Campaigns such as 16 Days of Activism are an important way for us to take stock of the steps we’ve taken and also acknowledge the ways in which we can continue to move forward in this space. 

CFA’s inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2023-2025 is a call to action for all members to support diversity, access and inclusion across CFA so that we can best serve our communities. 

The Strategy encompasses a number of key actions which focus on a range of diversity and inclusion areas as a priority for CFA. Key Action 11 is: embed gender equality principles into key people policies commencing with family violence leave and parental leave. 

This item includes:  

  • Increasing the range of training options for women (and consider the needs of those with caring responsibilities); 
  • Including but not limited to women only General Firefighter Training;  
  • Supporting existing initiatives to support women volunteer leaders including the Women Captains Forum;  
  • Women’s Facebook Page and Women’s Mentoring and Sponsorship Programs and continuing to improve access to gender-appropriate facilities and availability of gender-appropriate uniform and PPE. 

CFA has had a significant focus on gender equality in the past few years and we now better understand the barriers to progression for our women and the actions we must take to address them.  

There are a number of ways CFA members can get involved in the campaign. 

Seek out or hold a local event 

Seek out other 16 Days events in your area by contacting your local government, women’s health service or community groups. You can also check out Safe and Equal’s community events. 

Run your own event by using resources available at Respect Victoria. 

Encourage and support members from your brigade or office to attend these virtual events to demonstrate support and understanding. 

Increase your awareness and understanding of Gender-Based Violence 

Learn more about the campaign by visiting the Champions of Change Coalition website and downloading their report. 

Complete the Gender Inclusion module available on CFA’s Learning Hub. 

Read the various resources available on Our Watch. 

Start a conversation 

Take 5 minutes to talk about gender-based violence at the start of every meeting. 

Utilise Safe and Equal’s conversation starts to help start an informal conversation. These conversations can be challenging and may bring up a range of difficult issues and emotions for people. Consider this before you start a conversation and make sure you feel safe, supported and prepared. Reach to CFA Wellbeing Hub. 

Show Visible Support 

Add a virtual background to your online meeting or add messaging to your email signature. 

Put up resources to have available on display to spread awareness. 

Add these days (25 Nov to 10 Dec) to your calendar. 

Post photos online to show your support on Brigade and District Facebook pages and use the hashtag #16Days and #16DaysOfActivism. 

Read the 16 Days of Activism participation guide by Champions of Change Coalition and see how you can incorporate actions into your workplace. 

Respect starts with all of us – so take this opportunity to pause, reflect and make a change to end Gender-Based violence. 


Submitted by Deputy Chief Officer Garry Cook AFSM