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Regardless of rank or level the women of MFB play a key role in developing policies and delivering outcomes that will shape the future of our organisation.

Firecall, No. 338, 2018.

Across the world women remain vastly underrepresented in firefighting and operational roles. MFB is not alone in its desire to encourage and increase the number of women in its ranks. As a relatively new and non-traditional career path for women, many current and past women talk about coming to their operational career at MFB almost by accident.

Station Officer Sandy Hearn’s story is all too common: ‘…one day I was just sitting there, looking through the employment pages and there was an ad for firefighters. I would’ve skipped past that, but there was a woman in the ad and I looked at it, and I thought wow, I didn’t know that women were firefighters, I could do this’.

However they arrived at the job, like their male counterparts, female firefighters come from diverse backgrounds and bring with them invaluable life and vocational skills. And as the sight of women driving fire appliances becomes more commonplace, MFB hopes that firefighting becomes a more well-known and accepted career aspiration for both girls and boys.

Apart from regularly talking to girls in schools about being a firefighter, Donna Wheatley often made a point of picking up her daughter from school in her MFB uniform. As she says, ‘you have to see it to be it!’

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Our thanks go to the following people who shared their stories with us for this project:

George Arnold
John Berry
Frank Besanko
Karina Bodourian
Louise Cannon
Anita Carlin
Rachel Cowling
Tony Cowling
Kat Dunell
Kylie Evans
Michelle Field
Melanie Fox Craig
Mac Hanson
Rebecca Harding
Jodie Harrison
Sarah Hammond
Sandra Hearn
Tania Kelf

Gena Kenny
Amanda Lawless
Sarah Lostia
Laurie Lavelle
Ebony Lyons
Mark Lyons
Suzanne Medwell
Robert Purcell
Ruth Rampling
Amanda Robinson
Eileen Rudd
Dan Stephens
Heather Stockton
Janine Young
Gianna Verdini Fensom
Trudy Walker
Guy Walker
Donna Wheatley