Essex emergency services celebrate International Women's Day together
Colleagues from Essex’s emergency services will meet today to mark International Women’s Day.
Each year on 8 March, colleagues from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust and Essex Police hold a conference to celebrate the achievements of women in the emergency services.
Colleagues will hear from motivational speakers from different emergency services and partners about relevant topics such as menopause, mental health and cost of living advice.
This year's theme is #EmbraceEquity and pushes for a focus on gender equity; exploring why equal opportunities aren't enough.
The event will be opened by representatives of each service who will thank colleagues for their work over the last year and is once again being hosted by Jane Gardner, Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex.
Jane said: "This event really is a highlight of the year. It gets better and better and after each one I feel energised and excited that we have such a passionate bunch of people working together and supporting each other. The relationships we form at events like these help us to collaborate and work together as emergency service partners – working together we can do even more to help keep people in Essex safe.”
Rick Hylton, Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: "This years theme recognises people start from different places. That goes some way into explaining why we value positive action in our recruitment process.
"Our Service is traditionally seen as a male environment, meaning often women won't even consider firefighting as a role suitable for them. Society often doesn't encourage women to consider themselves as strong. But strength comes in different forms.
"We won't stop at putting effort into putting resources into encouraging women to apply for the role. We're making changes both physically and culturally within our service to make everyone feel valued for who they are and what they offer – we truly believe diverse teams make the best teams.”
Essex Police’s Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington said:
"This year’s theme, #EmbraceEquity, is incredibly important to me and to our force. We strive to celebrate and embrace diversity.
“It is so important that we gain and maintain the trust and confidence of the communities we work with and on behalf of.
“This means ensuring that our workforce is representative of these communities. For this to happen, we must, and do, welcome the great breadth of ideas, opinions and problem-solving approaches which all our police officers and staff bring to the job through their varied backgrounds, their life experiences and their cognitive diversity.
“And I am proud to say that, currently, nearly half of our officers and staff, 49%, are women, who bring their own unique perspectives to policing.
“We’re so lucky to benefit from the knowledge and skills of brilliant women across the force in all roles and at all ranks and levels who are paving the way for others to continue doing so in the future.
“Essex Police tries to ensure that all our officers and staff can be their very best selves at work so they can help people, keep them safe and catch criminals to keep our communities safe from harm.”