We can’t let International Women’s Day pass us by without celebrating just a tiny fraction of the women who have inspired us this past year!

A new precedent for Wales Air Ambulance Charity

Wales Air Ambulance Charity made history for themselves with their first all-female crew in November. Perhaps unsurprisingly the post was met with comments of ‘why does their gender matter?’. WAAC were quick to point out that rather than discriminating, highlighting this unusual circumstance was intended to ‘offer positive role models, particularly in STEM’, as women currently hold just 11% of the UK’s roles in STEM.

Responding to the most life-threatening and time sensitive cases, these air ambulance crew are true heroes.

 

Making waves with the Emergensea Girls  

Working full time in emergency medicine would be enough to keep most people busy, but for Rosie and Charlie aka the Emergensea Girls, this is just a fraction of their current workload. Because alongside their jobs, these two superwomen are also training to complete the TWAC, the world’s toughest rowing race across the Atlantic. Oh, and not just complete – they are also aiming to break the existing women’s pairs world record of 50 days! We’ve teamed up to kit out the duo so watch this space as we follow their training throughout the year.

Their participation is a fundraising effort for Devon Air Ambulance and you can sponsor the girls via their JustGiving page.

 

Lizzie Smith speaking up for change 

As nice as it would be to only feature good news stories in this roundup, this felt like an important point to include. London Ambulance Service paramedic Lizzie Smith bravely waived her anonymity to speak out about sexual assault she experienced on shift. Lizzie hoped that in doing so she would bring awareness to the issue, which stats reveal is commonplace within the role, and also to give others the confidence to report their own experiences to stamp out the problem.

The good news is that changes will be coming into force in April so that NHS staff will have the right to deny non-emergency treatment to any patient who is abusive or assaults them.

 

Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton leading by example 

There’s so much to champion about this incredible woman: her ambassadorship for the Big Issue magazine to support those sleeping rough; her PhD neuroscience research that has led to nationwide policy changes in the emergency services; and of course her role as the youngest of only six female Chief Fire Officers in the UK, where she’s working to change the perception of women in the fire service.

Last month she published her book, The Heat of the Moment, which has been hailed as a book which “challenges assumptions about who firefighters are, and what women can do.” This is going straight on my reading list.

https://twitter.com/Sab_CohenHatton/status/1219576916480536578

Award winning women just a call away

It’s often said that call handlers are the unsung heroes of our emergency services, and these women are no exception. Aneela Ahmed of Yorkshire Ambulance Service received the EMD of the Year 2019 award for “setting a standard that newcomers into the service should be aiming to achieve” after an impressive 22 years of service.

Meanwhile at the 2019 Control Room Awards, Gemma Honey (Lincolnshire Police), Megan Brunt (Avon and Somerset Police), Mandy Cassidy (London Ambulance Service) and Kate Dewey (Dorset and Wiltshire F&R) were all highlighted in particular among the award winners for their “extraordinary professionalism, resilience and selflessness”.

 

Who else should we put on our list?