The importance of representation

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Jocelyn Barker is passionate about encouraging woman and young people to join CFA’s volunteer ranks.


The Research Fire Brigade 4th Lieutenant sees herself as a role model and believes that representation is important. She understands the significance of others, especially young girls, being able to see themselves as a firefighter.

She is also passionate about encouraging the use of inclusive language so that the emergency services better reflect their membership and communities. 

She recalls two encounters with young girls that have really stuck with her and she says it’s these that keep her focused on growing as a leader.

“I remember this one little girl that I knew who saw me in my turnout gear,” Jocelyn said.

“She was so confused, and she said to her mum, ‘She can’t be a firefighter, she’s too beautiful to be a firefighter’.

“There was another time where a young girl called my crew and I firemen.

“And it broke my heart.

“It’s those moments that make want to show everyone that it doesn’t matter who you are, what gender you are or what you look like, you can do whatever you want.

“One of my main motivators is to just get out there and show what women are capable of – that we can do it too.

“I love joining in on women’s training days and am looking forward to participating in the upcoming Nillumbik Group women's training day – it’s just amazing to learn and share experiences with other women in CFA.”


Jocelyn has been a CFA volunteer for 10 years joining not long after her 16th birthday. She cited her parents as her inspiration for joining, although she said she didn’t need much encouragement after seeing their experiences volunteering with Research brigade.

“I was champing at the bit to join in as well,” she recalled.

At age 18 Jocelyn was awarded the 2015 Research Fire Brigade’s Firefighter of the Year. The following year she joined her brigade’s management team as a lieutenant. She is also the brigade’s social media coordinator and organises their annual dinners and awards nights.

“I wanted to take that next step at the brigade, to be a leader and challenge myself to take on that extra responsibility and do more for the brigade and the community,” she said.

“It’s really important for young people to get involved to bring new ideas and perspectives.”

Jocelyn served during the 2019-20 fires and has gained valuable experience as part of interstate strike teams to Tasmania and NSW. She holds qualifications in structural firefighting and breathing apparatus and last year gained her medium rigid licence to be able to drive the brigade’s tankers to incidents.

“My confidence has sky-rocketed over the past 10 years.

“I’m way more confident in everything I do as a leader and a crew leader – I feel way more confident in my role.”.

Jocelyn said her motivation to continue to develop within CFA was the community.

“I just want to help them. I want to be the best that I can to help people in need,” she said.

“I would say to people who are thinking about joining [their local brigade], just come down and join.

“It’s so much fun. You meet so many amazing people. You have so many amazing experiences. And it’s a good feeling – helping people and helping the community.”

International Women’s Day is an opportunity for Victorians to recognise what women bring to their communities. CFA celebrates the invaluable contribution and achievements of our women members.

Women make up tens of thousands of volunteer and staff roles across our organisation and are critically important to CFA’s continued progress and service in protecting Victorian lives and property.


  • Member News imageJocelyn was awarded the 2015 Research Fire Brigade Firefighter of the Year
  • Member News image
  • Member News image Jocelyn at the launch of the AFLW Bushfire Relief Double Header in 2020
Submitted by Shaunnagh O'Loughlin and Tiahn Wright