The last two years has seen bushfires, a pandemic and now floods. Locally we have had a series of destructive storms that have flattened forests, damaged houses and brought down power lines. Women play an increasingly important role in emergency preparation, response and recovery, particularly through local organisations like the CFA.
The different impact of emergencies on men and women is also being increasingly recognised through the establishment of organisations such as Gender and Disaster Australia. Issues range across health needs, child care, the impact of disasters on family violence, housing and income support
Regionally, as a celebration of International Women’s Day on March the 8th, the Member for Macedon in the Victorian Parliament, Mary-Anne Thomas hosted a virtual cuppa with Australia Day Honours Meritorious Service Award recipient, Riddells Creek CFA member, Gill Metz today.
About 30 women joined the online cuppa and heard Ms Metz discuss a range of experiences women have in emergency settings and how to address them.
She noted that over time more women have become involved in emergency preparation, recovery, and response but men and male perspectives still dominate decision making and practice. She pointed out that better outcomes for women will only be achieved with with more women at the table sharing their perspectives and experiences to drive a more diverse and inclusive culture in emergency management organisations.
Ms Metz has over 22 years involvement and 1250 incident responses under her belt. She has held the position of Assistant Chief Fire Officer for the Hume Region overseeing emergency preparedness and response, forest management and stakeholder relationships across four Fire Districts.
This year the theme for IWD is ‘Break the Bias’, a proactive campaign for women, by women in order to challenge stereotypes in workplaces, communities and schools.
Women from across the world will be ‘striking a pose’ by crossing their arms in solidarity across all social media platforms to show strength and unity.
If you would like to join this year’s IWDD celebrations or participate in activities, please visit: https://www.internationalwomensday.com.
Hepburn Shire will hold the annual Heather Mutimer Honour Role event to for International Women’s Day on March the 8th.