Rowville Fire Brigade boasts a large contingent of women firefighters and the numbers are continuing to grow.
With 13 women and a growing cohort of female Juniors at the brigade, the women at Rowville are proud to celebrate their diversity.
Michelle Tie, who has a Master’s Degree in chemical engineering, first joined CFA as a volunteer in 2014 when she was 23 years old.
Michelle said she had always liked volunteering and wanted to help her local community, so joining CFA was a natural fit and a great challenge.
“It’s been amazing to celebrate how the brigade has evolved and become more diverse over its 80-year history and to be a part of that evolution,” Michelle said.
As part of the team, Michelle also helps other communities when assistance is needed. She is a part of the Planned Burn Task Force which she says gives her the opportunity to be active within wider sections of the community.
Captain Cien Pereira, who is an air traffic controller, has been captain of the brigade since 2020 and said that Rowville Fire Brigade has women with different cultural backgrounds, ages and physical attributes.
“When I’m looking at recruiting, I don’t judge people on their physical attributes. It’s not physical strength that makes you a great firefighter; mental strength and attitude are just as important,” Cien said.
There are almost 13,000 female CFA volunteers and 52 female captains. 349 women currently hold leadership positions and these numbers have been increasing over the past five years.
In addition, there has been a steady increase in the number of women undertaking other leadership roles in brigades and groups such as brigade chair, group delegate, brigade treasurer and VFBV delegate.
Marked each year on 8 March, 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 gender parity.
This year’s IWD campaign theme is Break the Bias, encouraging us to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.
CFA CEO Natalie MacDonald encouraged members of all genders to get involved in CFA’s International Women’s Day events.
“International Women’s Day recognises and celebrates the achievements of women, highlighting the value and importance of diversity. Gender equality benefits all within CFA, ensuring that we truly represent the communities we serve,” Natalie said.
“We all have a responsibility to advocate for gender equity and diversity in all its forms and can champion change regardless of where we sit in CFA."
For more information on International Women’s Day visit www.internationalwomensday.com/