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Celebrating International Women's Day
What an inspiration CFA women are! In celebration of International Women’s Day, we saw female empowerment first hand.
Firefighter Jess Meilak and Lieutenant Kylie Thomas presented to the children of Rockbank and Diggers Rest primary schools to celebrate the achievements of women.
Firefighter Jess Meilak from Caroline Springs Fire Brigade, is 1of 6 female members. She is 1 of 4 who are operational. Its females like Jess who challenge historical stereotypes and inspire women across the state to want to join their local brigades.
At Rockbank Primary School, Firefighter Jess was joined by a combination of Rockbank and Eynesbury volunteers all dressed in their protective clothing despite the 30 degree heat.
The 100 children in attendance proudly sported their purple ribbons – the representative colour for International Women’s Day as Jess gauged the children’s understanding of stereotypes. They were happy to learn that females can be Firefighters, Doctors and even the Prime Minister as Julia Gillard showed in 2010.
The children were eager to share their stories of seeing grass fires and to tell Firefighter Jess of their family members who are also volunteers with CFA. They even proudly drew pictures of Jess as she walked into the school to give the presentation.
Lieutenant Kylie Thomas is the first female to be elected as an officer of Eynesbury Fire Brigade. History was made in 2016 as the brigade voted to have Kylie as their Lieutenant. Kylie has been kicking goals ever since, as a mother of 2 kids and wife to husband Leighton.
Kylie spoke passionately to the 100 children at Diggers Rest Primary School who were thrilled to hear of her own story joining CFA. She had worked with a volunteer from Truganina who described what he did as a Firefighter. She thought it sounded great and expressed that she would love to do something like that. He said “well you can!” She questioned whether she could because she was a girl and he told her that CFA encouraged females to join.
Both Jess and Kylie touched on other countries – where education isn’t always easily accessed but how lucky we are in Australia with the privilege to learn. Both schools were lucky enough to participate in activities such as “get down low and go, go, go” as well as squirting water from the fire truck.
The presentations were worthwhile, well received and successful. The presenters acknowledged Firefighter Karen Taylor from Eynesbury, Captain Tim Welshe from Diggers Rest and Firefighters Derek Ramsay and Andrew Ingram from Rockbank who were essential in supporting our two inspirational women.
Author: Chanel Forbes, CFA District 14