Mansfield Courier

CFA has become a big part of Mary Anne’s life

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INTERNATIO­NAL Women’s Day was celebrated on Sunday.

In recognitio­n of the role of women in the Country Fire Authority, the CFA ran a series of articles last week on some of the women from across the state that have made a difference not only within their own district but also further afield.

One of those such women is Mary Anne Egan of Maindample CFA Brigade.

The CFA story follows (reprinted with permission from CFA):

When Mary Anne Egan moved to the country to marry husband John 17 years ago, she thought joining the local CFA would be a good way to make friends and meet other likeminded people.

Little did she know how much CFA would become a part of her life, and how much a part of her life her involvemen­t would become.

In an impressive portfolio Mary Anne i s currently t he secretary of the Maindample CFA, along with being a state and district representa­tive for VFBV (Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria), and is involved with various community safety programs – along with working as a marriage celebrant.

Speaking on her various volunteer commitment­s Mary Anne says “there’s not a lot of spare time but that’s OK – it’s good to be busy with work in the community”.

When a position came up a few years ago for a VFBV local and state delegate Mary Anne decided to apply for the voluntary role.

“When the previous delegate retired I decided to apply for the role influenced by the commitment and the passion shown by the brigade and state delegates.

“I felt I was privileged to be elected, as it was traditiona­lly a male dominated role.

“It was a big commitment on the part of the people who voted for me, given I was fairly new to VFBV and didn’t have as much knowledge or experience as a lot of other people – but they could see that I was very keen and had worked with them well as secretary of the district council.”

Mary Anne’s work with VFBV involves representi­ng volunteers at district and state level.

“It’s both rewarding and humbling that I’ve now been reelected several times to represent District 23 VFBV council at state level but I’m backed by a committed team and a supportive husband,” she said.

“VFBV is really the voice and the ears of volunteers out in the regions – it’s our job to campaign or act on issues raised locally at a district or state level.”

Mary Anne says working with a range of great people in CFA has helped her build positive working relationsh­ips with many people and communitie­s throughout CFA and emergency services.

In her time with CFA Mary Anne has seen a lot of positive change, particular­ly in promoting greater female participat­ion in the organisati­on and the strengthen­ing of the role of the volunteer in CFA.

“Now there’s a much greater awareness that CFA is made up of both men and women, and we’re seeing that espoused in the leadership at all levels both district and state.”

However, she still believes there’s a way to go with female representa­tion in CFA – and the broader emergency services sector.

“Whenever I go to a state forum or meeting I frequently see all the delegates sitting up the front are men,” she said.

“I think until we start to see women at the highest operationa­l levels of CFA, such as an ACO (assistant chief officer) or DCO (deputy chief officer) and women on those leadership panels things will only change gradually.

“I really hope one day soon we see a female there in her own right.”

When asked what benefits higher representa­tion of females in CFA might bring the organisati­on Mary Anne says an all-embracing observatio­n of people and compassion could come in handy for CFA.

 ??  ?? COMMITMENT: Mary Anne Egan of Bonnie Doon has found her niche in advocating for CFA volunteers.
COMMITMENT: Mary Anne Egan of Bonnie Doon has found her niche in advocating for CFA volunteers.

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