The first ever Australian national forum for women involved in firefighting

The first ever Australian national forum for women involved in firefighting

23February 2005

published by NSW Rural Fire Service NewsFlash

The first ever Australian national forum for women involved in firefighting is to be held at the Holiday Inn Sydney Airport on Thursday 12 and Friday 13 May 2005. 

Organised by the University of Western Sydney (UWS), the conference has been supported by the Volunteer Relations Unit of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and a number of other emergency services. 

A number of places have been reserved for RFS women firefighters and will include both salaried and volunteer members. To secure a spot at the conference contact the Volunteer Relations Unit. 

The forum is intended to: 

  • Recognise and celebrate the contribution of women to firefighting in Australia 
  • Discuss the issues faced by women in firefighting 
  • Develop strategies and support networks and
  • Encourage greater participation of women in all aspects of firefighting and fire management 

UWS is conducting the first national study of women firefighters in Australia. 

Women make up a little more than half of the Australian population, and are active members of the paid and voluntary workforce in Australia. Yet they make up less than 3 per cent of the paid firefighting workforce. 

A preliminary study showed that many more women do firefighting as volunteers or within land management agencies. 

Findings from this study will be disseminated widely during 2005, and researchers are hopeful that they will provide important information upon which we can build a more resilient, equitable, and diverse Australian firefighting workforce. 

A web survey has been developed to find out about the experiences of women firefighters across Australia since 1994. UWS is interested in the views of women firefighters, regardless of where they do their work. 

Women do firefighting work as paid, casual or voluntary firefighters. They do firefighting work in fire and rescue, bushfire, land management agencies, air services, and the defence forces.

Why is the Forum for women only? 

The Forum is not designed to create a separatist movement, or to pit female firefighters against male firefighters. Women firefighters have expressed a strong wish to network, meet other women firefighters, celebrate why they love the job, find role models of senior firefighting women, and talk about ways of fostering change. 

UWS research has indicated that this would best be done, in the first instance, with women talking to women. For this reason, the First National Forum is a women’s only event. 

For more information and to take part in the survey go to 


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