This year’s International Women’s Day is all about embracing equity – and we’re celebrating it alongside a number of incredible women across our fire services community, and within our charity.
We have spoken to a few of them about why they’re proud to work in the fire service, why they’re pushing for a gender equal world and why they’d encourage others to follow in their footsteps. You can read what they had to say below.
Meanwhile, we’d also like to give a huge shout out to all the wonderful women working within our charity – from our staff working in our centres, to those engaging with communities, our incredible volunteers and more.
Kathryn Billing, Chief Fire Officer for Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, says: “On International Women’s Day we are asking ourselves to #embraceequity and of course celebrate the achievements of women.
“As still one of only a handful of women in the role of Chief Fire Officer, I am so proud to serve within Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service and be a part of the fire family. I know there is so much more to do to ensure we have equity across the fire sector, but today let’s celebrate the achievement of women.”
“As still one of only a handful of women in the role of Chief Fire Officer, I am so proud to be a part of the fire family.”
Women in the Fire Service UK says: “On International Women’s Day, everyone can play their part to help break the bias and gain more respect, visibility and recognition for women around the globe and for women in the fire service.
“Working together with our members, volunteers, partners, and allies helps us showcase women’s achievements to inspire the next generation to the sector.”
LFB firefighter Sarah King says: “Some of my proudest moments have been when I’ve engaged with children whilst wearing my uniform. It’s great to be in a position to be able to inspire the next generation. I feel very lucky indeed.”
Uroosa Arshid, a firefighter with Nottinghamshire FRS who’s also one of our FFC Station Reps, says: “I’m really proud to be a part of the fire service because I feel like I can fulfil my purpose of being able to help people on a daily basis!
“I think it’s fantastic that the diversity is improving across the Service because it allows for a bigger range of talent and thinking to be accessed and utilised, so we can all benefit from it. I’d love to encourage and inspire young women to also join because it’s the best job in the world, so why not?!”
The Antarctic Fire Angels say: “Everyone can be a visible role model. Call out discrimination, stereotyping and gender bias and be part of a future that is 50:50 and inclusive to all.”
“Everyone can be a visible role model.”
The Antarctic Fire Angels
Alison Insley says: “I feel privileged, honoured and proud to have served as an on-call firefighter for nearly six years. A profession where anyone can apply to do the job and everyone is assessed equally.
“I joined the Service at the age of 45 years old, I am female and I am Asian…possibly three reasons that could potentially be seen as barriers to not just joining but even applying in the first place. However, there is no reason that these should be seen as barriers.
“Being a firefighter is one of the best and most rewarding jobs in the world, there is no reason that anyone should miss out because of the old stereotypes. If the opportunity is there, I say, take it and make the most of the experience in serving your community in the very best way possible.”
Nicola Fletcher, a full-time aviation firefighter and on-call firefighter with Scottish FRS, says: “As a mother of five – three boys and two girls – I’m proud to inspire all my children to work hard and remind them they can achieve whatever they put their mind to.
“It’s important to inspire and be inspired in this world…let’s build each other up and inspire the next generation to be helpful, thoughtful, hard-working and passionate about whatever they achieve throughout their life!”
Assistant Operations Manager with LFB, Becs Dingvean, says: “Working in Control, it can be easy to assume we are more progressive as we are predominantly women, but I remember when I first started seeing three amazing women as Officers of the watch and was in awe. It is not often you see all women in charge and it inspired me to become an AOM.”
LFB firefighter Annie Green says: “I work in the fire service and really enjoy doing a practical job. I am inspired by ALL of the other women who have chosen firefighting as their career. Everyone is a role model to each other.”
You can meet and chat to other women across the UK’s fire services community in MyFFC, our health, wellbeing and social space for the whole fire family.