Women in emergency services take the spotlight for International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day (IWD) is an important day on the global calendar where we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year’s theme is Generation Equality which focuses on all generations working together for equality.
Women are invaluable to the emergency services - whether battling incidents on the frontline, working tirelessly behind the scenes or travelling interstate to assist crews in Queensland and New South Wales, the commitment and courage shown by women is vital in protecting our communities.
The stories below celebrate just some of the many inspirational women thriving in their emergency services roles, shared by their colleagues who have seen their commitment and dedication firsthand.
Shell Slee – Brigade Secretary Kalumunda Bush Fire Brigade (BFB)
When Shell Slee joined the brigade four years ago, she brought with her a unique energy and positive attitude. Shell takes on any training opportunity presented to her and continues to challenge herself to do better for her community. Shell joined the brigade leadership team in 2019 as brigade secretary and is always happy to offer her perspective and guidance to the leadership team.
Simone Conklin – Captain Eucla Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services (VFES)
Captain of the Eucla VFES Simone Conklin, together with a very small crew, has the responsibility of emergency response 200-300 kilometres either side of Eucla. She has been Captain for 18 years. She could truly be considered the knight in shining armour for all travelers crossing the Nullarbor.
Catherine Voigt – Marine Rescue Whitfords
Catherine joined Marine Rescue Whitfords on the 1 January 1999. Since then she has been a loyal and dedicated member of the group. Three nights a week Catherine does the radio watch from midnight to 7am, a role she has undertaken for several years. Catherine and her husband have an IT business and over the years she has also been a great help to us in that area.
Neave Mayhew – Emergency Services Cadet Corps Jurien Bay (ESCC)
Neave has been a highly active and engaged cadet in the Jurien Bay Emergency Service Cadet Corps from the day she was old enough to join, taking on a leadership role within her first year. Now in her fourth year as a cadet the year 10 student leads her own section of cadets, regularly runs training activities and demonstrations for the entire unit, undertakes a gifted and talented education program. Neave also plans, develops and organises a number of community service activities for herself or the cadet unit to undertake.
Veronica Wyatt – Captain, Norseman Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services (VFRS)
Veronica is an integral part of the Norseman community. Her passion for equity for all people is clearly evident not only in her role of Captain, but also as a Councillor for the Shire of Dundas and the Ngadju Language Teacher at Norseman District High School. She is generous and caring and ready to assist when the call for help is heard. Captain Wyatt takes her duties seriously and works alongside her team to ensure that all the crew are safe, prepared and ready to respond.
Angela Davidson – Tom Price State Emergency Service (SES)
Angela is a valued volunteer of the unit and is our social media champion. She also helps out weekly with our local emergency services cadets assisting with their training. She is always enthusiastic to give anything a go and pass her valuable knowledge onto others. Tom Price SES is lucky to have nine active female members. They are very involved in all aspects of duties carried out at our unit, from gorge rescues and land searches, to cyclone and storm assistance.
Kim Lusk – DFES District Officer
Kim Lusk is the very definition of resilience. Though she grew up in a time where it wasn’t possible for women to be firefighters, she persevered and joined the Career Fire and Rescue Service 12 years ago as a firefighter. She has continued to rise to the many challenges that the role has brought, progressing to a District Officer. Her positive attitude towards anything life has thrown her way is admirable, including sharing her own personal cancer story to inspire others. A passionate advocate for men and women working side by side in emergency services, Kim is well respected by her colleagues and truly demonstrates that gender is no barrier to protecting your community.
Thank you to the thousands of women on the frontline and behind the scenes in WA’s emergency services, for everything you do to help make Western Australia a safer State.
A toolkit is available for more information on International Women’s Day, including key messages, statistics and the role you can play towards furthering equal opportunities for women.