A celebration of CFA women
Friday, October 15, was International Rural Women’s Day and CFAs across the north-east took the opportunity to celebrate.
The vital role of women in their communities, their brigades and to the CFA as an organisation is something the volunteer organisation values highly.
Libby Garoni is one of the thousands of women who volunteer with the CFA to help her community in Victoria’s north-east.
As a 3rd lieutenant at Gundowring Fire Brigade and Deputy Group Officer of the Bogong Group, Ms Garoni said she there was nothing like living in a rural area.
“I’m from north-east Victoria and while I lived in Melbourne for a while,
I’m a country girl at heart,” Ms Garoni said. “I’ve been a CFA member for more than 20 years, and actually joined when a local member came round to ask my husband to join.
“I’ve always been a bit of a doer and always been part of community organisations, so I told him I’d sign up as well.
“I certainly wasn’t the first female member of Gundowring Brigade but when I first started, there weren’t a lot of women in the roles that I’ve taken on.
“I think when people see women out there having a go, they’re much more likely to get out and be part of it, and there are a lot more young women joining nowadays, which is fantastic.”
The number of women in the CFA ranks has been increasing, with 12,622 female volunteers currently supporting their communities in operational, support and junior capacities.
CFA chief executive Natalie MacDonald said opportunities such as International Rural Women’s Day provided a chance to recognise what rural women brought to their communities and to the CFA as an organisation.
Having grown up in a rural area,
Ms MacDonald is only too aware of how important rural women are to the protection and the future of their communities.
“CFA’s women are great role models showcasing the strength, determination, diversity of skill and adaptability of women to the whole Victorian community and beyond,” she said.
“We are committed to providing a welcoming, inclusive and safe place to volunteer and work, and want to continue to attract and retain members of diverse backgrounds and experiences that reflect our communities.”