IWD 2022: Nothing standing in the way of women in uniform

In today’s world, women continue to prove that there is nothing that will stand in their way to achieve the things they desire. Women have continually demonstrated that they are equally capable as men and are slowly taking over what were once considered ‘male dominated’ jobs.

This can be seen in Guyana’s disciplined services, where women in uniform are establishing themselves as equivalent to their male counterparts.

Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn M.P, Permanent Secretary, Mae Toussaint Jr. Thomas and Chief Fire Officer (ag), Gregory Wickham shared a light moment with the women in uniform and female staff of the ministry

As Guyana joins the rest of the world in celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD), the women of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) and Emergency Medical Technicians conducted a drill exercise at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The female drill squad

The drill was witnessed by Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, M.P, Permanent Secretary, Mae Toussaint Jr. Thomas, Chief Fire Officer (ag), Gregory Wickham and female employees attached to the ministry.

Station Officer Tricia Leander, who led the drill has been in the GFS for 26 years. Leander said over the years, women have proven that they have a place in the fire service.

Station Officer, Tricia Leander

She explained that women started out in the fire service being control room attendants or clerical staff but today, women are part of the responding team and account for over 100 of the staff complement.

“Women have come a long way in society and I always say if you need to prove yourself, then you take stock of a career and you move forward. It is challenging, but we can make it, we have proven that we can break barriers. We have infiltrated, not the fire service alone, but the Guyana Defence Force, the police force, even in construction, women are doing fine so you just need to go after your goals,” Leander stated.

Dianne Gill, Section Leader, GFS

Dianne Gill, section leader of the fire service, has been in the field for over 21 years. Gill said from the time she joined the service, she made it known that she was not there to compete with the men, but to work with them to achieve a common goal.

Gill said “along the way it has been successful. We have crossed the hurdle of having female fire fighters, truck drivers and we have had a lot of successes over the years.”

Emergency Medical Technician, Padmini Lakhram said being in the medical field has always been her dream. Lakhram said she loved the idea of taking care of patients and has been doing so for the past four years.

“At first it was a challenge because this job kind of needs male power, because we have to lift patients with the stretcher and the spine board. So, at first it was a challenge but I overcame that and I adapted to it.”

Minister Benn congratulated the women of the ministry, thanking them for the work they have been doing. The minister highlighted that government is working on issues that will have a profound impact on the way things are done in the ministry and agencies.

“With the demonstration this morning, I want to say how relieved and encouraged we are at the effort that is being made, that their willingness to learn and to serve and particularly too, to take every opportunity for education to improve their service level and their engagement at all levels of our society,” Minister Benn stated.

The Chief Fire Officer said the exercise was aimed at showcasing the talent and ability of the female staff. He said over the years, female fire fighters have been resilient, setting the bar high with respect to their work ethic.

International Women’s Day is being celebrated under the theme ‘Break the Bias.’

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