A record number of female forest firefighters have joined Forest Fire Management Victoria to help tackle fires this summer and help keep Victorians safe.

One hundred and twelve women are on the front line this fire season – a 29 per cent increase on last summer.

Forest Fire Management Victoria’s total workforce now comprises 18 per cent women – up from 13 per cent last year.

The results represent the success of Forest Fire Management Victoria’s Women in Fire and Emergency Leadership Roles Action Plan, aimed at improving gender equality across the state’s fire and emergency roles.

The action plan is helping implement the Victorian Government's Emergency Management Diversity and Inclusion Framework: Respect and Inclusion for All.

The action plan was implemented in December 2016 to help remove the barriers identified in lower female recruitment rates and better understand the issues preventing women from engaging.

Outcomes already delivered through the plan include:

  • Increased diversity in the promotion of recruitment campaigns
  • New personnel protective clothing trial featuring female fit
  • Recruitment of more women in key leadership roles
  • Emphasis on gender balanced interview panels and
  • Awareness raising of interview panels about unconscious bias.

Over the past two years the Government has overseen a 34 per cent increase in female forest firefighter applications, as part of a broader push to improve gender diversity in all workforces.

Forest Fire Management Victoria employs over 600 project firefighters across the state every summer to protect the community and environment across the state.