Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Minister for Emergency Services; Innovation and the Digital Economy; Medical Research; Volunteering

    Celebrating female staff and personnel on International Women’s Day

    8/03/2023 1:30 PM
    • More women apply for a career in firefighting in response to targeted recruitment drive
    • International Women's Day a chance to celebrate women in emergency services

    A targeted recruitment drive to boost the number of women working in emergency services is starting to bear fruit after a record number of women graduated from the most recent Trainee Firefighter School.


    While 60 per cent of corporate staff at the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) identify as female, the representation of women is much lower across frontline operational roles.


    However, 14 of the 30 people who graduated from Trainee Firefighter School 89 were female, demonstrating that concerted efforts to reverse the trend are delivering results.


    This follows the appointments of the Department's first female Deputy Commissioner, Melissa Pexton, and Assistant Commissioner Kate Vivian, who both spoke at DFES' inaugural 'Women in Leadership' forum earlier this year.


    Plans are also underway to ensure all Volunteer Advisory Committees have at least 50 per cent female representation.


    The encouraging increase comes as the world today celebrates International Women's Day, a global movement to advance gender equality.


    This year's theme is 'Cracking the Code' to highlight how innovation, inclusive technologies and accessible education can combat discrimination and marginalisation of women around the world.

    DFES has introduced a range of recruitment initiatives aimed at attracting more female firefighters, which includes a targeted digital campaign challenging the stereotypes and breaking down barriers to entry to make it more appealing as an occupation.


    Information and equipment sessions are also held which help female applicants familiarise themselves with the testing requirements of the recruitment process.


    Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson:


    "Diversifying our workforce is a priority and our aim is to continue to boost the number of women who want to work in emergency services, including as firefighters.


    "This encouraging increase shows the progress we are making. Implementing change and challenging long-held stereotypes isn't easy and it doesn't happen overnight, but the State Government and DFES are committed to change in this space, no matter how long it takes.


    "We want our emergency services workforce to reflect the communities we support. Women bring new skills and experience and are well-equipped to do the job incredibly well."


    Comments attributed to Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM:


    "Today is a chance to reflect on the unique contributions women make to emergency services and how we keep building a fair and inclusive agency.


    "I'm proud of work in recent years to reshape perceptions of the typical emergency services worker, remove barriers to entry and actively encourage more women to join DFES.


    "There is much more to be done to achieve equity and level the playing field but we are making significant progress."


    Minister's office - 6552 5800