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First Region Wide Women in CFA Forum

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ON Sunday 21 May 2017, CFA West Region, hosted the first region wide Women in CFA Forum. The forum was developed to provide an opportunity for female CFA members to share real life experiences including motivations to join CFA and members experiences along the way. Participants representing 20 different brigades were welcomed by District 15 Operations Manager, Brett Boatman who spoke of his roles and experiences within CFA since joining as a junior member some 35 years ago and of the journey of CFA in developing a culture that embraces inclusiveness. Guest speakers for the day included Gwynne Brennan, CFA Executive Manager Community Safety, who shared her personal journey and struggles of working in male dominated industries and her subsequent roles within CFA both as a volunteer and employee. The support she received and of times when no support was offered and how she both approached and dealt with these situations. CFA Volunteer Sustainability Team members Kimberley Taylor and Laura Tierney from the North East Region provided a presentation on the development and implementation of the District 24 Women’s Reference Group. The group was formed for the purpose of encouraging and supporting women’s participation within CFA and provides opportunities for female members to influence decision making at a local level. This presentation proved to be very popular generating a great deal of discussion on how this type of group could be established in West Region to support increased opportunities for female members to contribute. During the day participants were provided several opportunities to share their experiences as well as share thoughts and ideas on areas where CFA and local brigades can work to provide more inclusive and welcoming environments for our existing members and those community members wanting to become involved with CFA. ‘These activities unquestionably have provided us with some amazing insights and ideas that we can look to implement locally to support increased diversity in our membership’ said Raelene Williams, Regional Manager Volunteer Sustainability. The initial feedback on the day has been positive with many comments demonstrating the benefits of the day including comments like ‘A day that can lead to change and inclusion’ and ‘I hope to contribute to Equality, Diversity and to create a better understanding for all, not just women’. ‘These comments demonstrate the willingness of our female members to contribute at a higher level and highlights the importance of hosting the events to provide opportunities for this’ Raelene said. We are also pleased to have received many more ideas on how we can expand on the day and more importantly continue on the journey of inclusiveness across CFA.

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