Bayswater Captain Diana Ferguson, paid firefighter Jenni Raines and junior firefighter Courtney Davidson joined Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan, CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson and other CFA members to recognise and celebrate the role of women in the organisation.
“It’s my pleasure to be here today and pay due regard to the women standing around us and the many others who do wonderful work across our emergency services,” Minister Ryan said.
“The number of females in the CFA has grown by 682 in the past year alone to 12,511. Today we have 15 female CFA captains; 2400 female volunteers under 25; 154 female lieutenants and, proudly, 4,003 female volunteers.
“Indeed, Bayswater CFA appointed its first female captain, Diana Ferguson, just last year and it is clear what a great job Captain Ferguson and her team do supporting the community in this region,” he said.
Mrs Ferguson made history in CFA when she was elected Captain of the Bayswater Brigade, the fire female to hold the role at an urban brigade.
“I am extremely honoured and humbled to be Captain here. It’s been a rewarding role and the members of this brigade are so supportive and have embraced females and diversity in CFA for many years.”
Cranbourne paid firefighter Jenni Raines said being a female makes no difference when they’re responding to emergency calls.
“On shift we are seen as firefighters and not separated as women or men. We are treated equally based on merit and capability.”
Mr Ryan and Mr Ferguson have already earmarked 15-year-old Hastings Junior Fire Brigade member Courtney Davidson as a future leader at CFA.
She has been involved with the brigade since she was 11, and said as a member she has gained the confidence to never give up and encourages others to do the same.
CFA is currently experiencing the highest number of female membership in its history, Mr Ferguson said he would like to see that number continue to grow to match their male counterparts.
“WithinCFA we only have between 20 and 21 per cent females. We want to change that. We want to see women in CFA grow – within themselves and in numbers and influence. I won’t rest until we see at least 50 per cent of CFA who are female.
“Until that time we need to work together to create a welcoming and positive environment for females within CFA. I want to acknowledge the women here today, you are inspirational. Thank you for what you do, particularly the leadership roles you hold and never forget you are the role models for other females within CFA and for those who are thinking of joining,” Mr Ferguson said.