Australia: Ambulance Victoria is celebrating the 30th anniversary of women joining its operational ranks
A 1980s occupational health and safety regulation banning women from lifting more than 16kg in the workplace precluded women from working various jobs in Victoria.
The first two women started their on-road training with the ambulance service on 27 July 1987 after the government waived the regulation and new lifting procedures opened the door for female recruits.
Female paramedics now fill all types of roles including Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) and Advanced Life Support (ALS) Paramedics, Team and Group Managers, Duty Managers, Clinical Support Officers and other management roles.
MICA Paramedic Educator Andrea Wyatt had unsuccessfully applied to join the ambulance service three years before she received an unexpected telegram in 1987 to come in for an interview.
Not only did Andrea become one of the first two women to join, she became the first qualified female MICA Paramedic in 1993 and the first female Clinical Support Officer in 1995.
Sebastopol Team Manager Melissa Buckingham was the first and only female paramedic in country Victoria when started her ambulance career in October 1987.
Ambulance Victoria CEO Tony Walker said the milestone was significant not just for female paramedics but for the entire ambulance workforce.
“Three decades ago there were just two female paramedics in Victoria – today, more than 43 per cent of our paramedics are women and more women than men apply to become graduate paramedics,” Mr Walker said.
“I have had the honour of working with some wonderful women in my ambulance career. Their contribution has made this organisation much richer and I am a better person for it.
“We are a community focused organisation and having a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the community we serve is critical.”
Source: AV press release.