Target set to increase female firefighters

Women's Interests Minister Simone McGurk with the women who work in fire management. Picture: Nadia Budihardjo
Women's Interests Minister Simone McGurk with the women who work in fire management. Picture: Nadia Budihardjo

THE State government has placed a high target to increase the number of women firefighters in the State.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions’ Parks and Wildlife Service has launched its Women in Fire Management Action Plan 2019 – 22.

Currently, only five per cent of frontline firefighter positions and 17 per cent of fire management positions are held by women.

The target set by the Plan was to increase the number to between 20 to 30 per cent of women in frontline and fire management roles including through diversity training and promoting flexible work arrangements.

District Fire Coordinator Emma Clingan welcomed the action plan. Picture: Nadia Budihardjo

District Fire Coordinator Emma Clingan welcomed the action plan and said she would like to see more education in schools to promote fire management to young people.

Ms Clingan started her career in fire management as a crew member in Jurien Bay 15 years ago and is now based at the Swan Coastal District of the Parks and Wildlife Service in Wanneroo.

“There has been minimal women involvement in fire management,” she said.

“I love my job, I love being in the bush and the team side of things.

“We need to promote what we do, get them to see we’re out there.”

Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk at the launch of the Action Plan. Picture: Nadia Budihardjo

Minister for Women’s Interests Simone McGurk said it has been demonstrated an increased gender diversity in leadership roles leads to better decision-making and improves culture and morale.

“Out of the 800 staff employed by the Department who are involved in fire management about 300 of them do front line work but there’s only a very small number of women,” she said.

“At leadership levels, while it’s currently only 17 per cent, they’ll work to increase the number of women involved in those roles as well.

“It’s so important that girls and women in our community understand that there is a breadth of opportunities available to them, to mainly what is traditionally considered male-dominated occupations.”