8 March is International Women’s Day and we will be celebrating with a networking event for our colleagues to learn from each other’s experiences.
We will hear from speakers from our own Service, the Women in the Fire Service network, and from London and Cornwall fire and rescue services.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day campaign is ‘Embrace Equity.’ Its website defines equality and equity as follows:
Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities.
Equity recognises that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.
We have made progress within the Service towards gender equality, but we know we have more work to do.
Women are currently under-represented in the fire service. We have a gender pay gap, which means that, on average, women who work for us have less total income than men.
This is not a result of men and women doing the same job being paid differently, but rather that there are many more men and those men tend to occupy more senior roles.
The gender pay gap gives us some indication of how far we are on the journey to embracing equity between the genders. We are pleased that our gender pay gap has decreased every year since 2018 and is less than half the national pay gap Addressing our gender pay gap
Recent reports about culture within the fire and rescue sector nationally have been deeply concerning. No-one should experience the behaviours reported and we are committed to making sure our Service is a safe and inclusive place for people to work.
There is more to do to be inclusive for our colleagues and communities and we have plans in place to help make this happen.
We will focus on educating and empowering our colleagues to build a good, inclusive culture across the whole of our Service. This includes training for all our people, support for colleagues to challenge inappropriate behaviour, and encouraging open conversations among colleagues about what is and isn’t acceptable.
Today, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate and champion the women in our lives, to recognise and celebrate difference and make a positive change for us all.
“The purpose of the day is to celebrate the achievements of women, as well as to raise awareness of issues, such as gender bias, violence against women and girls and most importantly to embrace equity. I stand in unity and champion women within our Service and within my personal life.”
Gavin Ellis, Deputy Chief Fire Officer