STAFF from Essex’s emergency services are set to hold a virtual conference to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March.
Each year on 8 March, colleagues from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, Essex Police and the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex hold a conference to celebrate International Women’s Day.
This year, the event will be held virtually to celebrate the achievements of women in the emergency services and colleagues will have the opportunity to hear from motivational speakers from different emergency services. The virtual conference will be a day to reflect on the work carried out by the emergency services since last year’s International Women’s Day event and what has been learned over that year.
The event will be opened by the chiefs of each service who will thank colleagues for their work over the last year.
Jo Turton, Chief Fire Officer/ Chief Executive at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: “For me, International Women’s Day is a day to reflect on what we have all achieved together, think and plan what needs to be done in the future, but probably most importantly, it is an opportunity to celebrate the power of difference.
“This year’s theme is choose to challenge. A challenged world is an alert world, so I encourage everyone to show your support for each other, stand by one another and choose to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions.”
Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington said: “International Women’s Day is about celebrating women’s achievements and continuing to raise awareness about women’s equality. It is important to remember this is not just a singular day to act, listen and learn, but it is a day to remember why we stand for equality every day, listen to achievements and learn from them too.
“Equality is a shared issue, one not exclusively for women to progress which is why it’s great that Essex Police, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and East England Ambulance Service NHS Trust come together each year to organise a joint event for International Women’s Day. In line with this year’s theme, I #ChooseToChallenge and look forward to building on some of the successes we’ve seen in Essex Police in supporting women, such as increasing the number of female applicants to 38% via #WeValueDifference, which is 4% higher than the results of our previous recruitment campaign. If you think you #FitTheBill, why not apply to join Essex Police?”
Tom Davis, Acting Chief Executive of East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust said: “The theme this year is Choose to Challenge. The past year, while being one of great challenges, has also been a great opportunity to see how all our staff worked together – through extraordinary circumstances – to continue to provide excellent care for our patients.
“On the occasion of International Women’s Day, I am proud to say that, through our cultural change programme, we are working towards being an organisation which offers women both opportunity and the support needed to challenge themselves and find out what they can achieve.”
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex said: “We all benefit from the fact that Essex has some brilliant, strong women working to keep our county safe. International Women’s Day provides an opportunity for us all to celebrate our strong female role models, both personally and professionally. My first boss was a woman, and so was my best boss.
“This day also provides a space to remember the importance of ensuring equality of opportunities for all, a priority for me not only on this day, but indeed every day.”
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Choose to Challenge’ and the emergency services have set themselves a challenge to collectively cover 1900km through an exercise of their choice as fast as they can.
1900km is the distance the Antarctic Fire Angels (AFA), a team of five female firefighters from London Fire Brigade and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, are set to cover while crossing Antarctica in 2023 while raising funds in association with Ordinary Extraordinary C.I.C.
Colleagues from the ambulance, fire and police services in Essex will attempt to match this distance while raising money for their chosen charities, The Fire Fighters Charity and The Harlequins Foundation.
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service works daily to ensure its staff feel empowered in their role regardless of gender, race, sexuality or background. That includes support through a number of staff networks including its Women’s Forum and LGBTQ+ support network, BEING.
Could you join Essex County Fire and Rescue Service? Head over to www.join.essex-fire.gov.uk to see what roles the Service has on offer.