The global theme for International Women’s Day being celebrated on Monday is ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World’.

The organisation’s website highlights how COVID-19 has impacted women and girls in profound ways, amplifying the inequalities they face every day.

“It is fundamental that diverse women’s voices and experiences are central to national and global recovery plans.

A key contributor to a more equal COVID-19 world is increasing women’s access to leadership roles.

Unfortunately, women still face significant cultural, socio-economic and political barriers to accessing leadership,” the site concludes.

Locally, many of Mildura’s emergency services frontline women seem to be defying those sentiments and a group of them came together in advance of the day to acknowledge each others achievements and that of their fellow women colleagues with whom they work alongside.

Mildura Police Superintendent Rebecca Olsen said that all of the women working in each emergency services organisations undertake important roles and make a great contribution to their local community.

“You look around, and each one of these women work in an organisation where the majority of their peers are men, so not only are they a standout for the professional roles they are performing, but also for how they deal with the daily challenges they all face,” she said.

“This photo opportunity is really about seeing a group of northern Mallee women who are achieving great things in the roles they perform.”

M.I.C.A. Paramedic Bron Lambert said that from her perspective, International Women’s Day is about women’s achievements.

“It’s nice to be recognised that we can work in this industry and to know that we do a really great job and also promote the further recruitment of female members and to be leaders,” she said.

“This field of work is not without its hazards and challenges, particularly with the pandemic, which has become our new norm, but the role is also super-satisfying as well.”

Police Custody Officer Jo Price said she also appreciated the acknowledgment of women’s roles and contribution to the community that International Women’s Day highlighted.

“It’s also a chance to demonstrate that women can equally perform the same roles as their male counterparts in a wide range of careers and that they are willing to do those jobs,” she said.

Mildura Police First Constable Miff Miles works at the coal face of law and order in the region and agreed it was also a challenging role at times.

“It can be challenging, but in regard to VicPol and all of the emergency services, I think women do offer something different to the men,” she said.

“We think differently, and can put out different ideas.

“I think it’s great that we have all come together today, it’s not something we often get a chance to do and it’s great to see that there are women working in all of the these roles.”

First Constable Miles said that the opportunities afforded female members of VicPol spoke for itself with her commander being the Superintendent of Police in Mildura.

“I think Bec is a good role model for women in VicPol, to see how far she has advanced and how her career has gone, not just because she is woman, but nonetheless she has reached this high rank as a woman.”

SES Volunteer Charlie Bayldon said that women are as capable as men in the roles they perform.

“We are certainly as capable as any man out there, and in some instances, I think we can go above and beyond that,” she said.

“It’s nothing for us to go out there and actually do the Jaws of Life, but it is always a team effort and that applies when we go to a situation, whether it’s a car accident, search and rescue, storm damage, or floods, we all work together.
“We’re 24/7 and when the pager goes of at 3am, we are there. Working in Mildura as a men and women team is great − it’s like a family really, and even through COVID, we have recruited five women.”