HeForShe is a global solidarity campaign for the advancement of women, initiated by UN Women, it invites people around the world to stand together to create a bold, visible force for gender equality. Its goal is to engage men and boys as agents of change for gender equality by encouraging them to take action against negative inequalities faced by women and girls. Grounded in the idea that gender equality is an issue that affects all people - socially, economically and politically - it seeks to actively involve men and boys in a movement that was originally conceived as "a struggle for women by women". It has been recognised that to achieve gender equality on both sides, we need to work together.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Mark Matthews is leading the initiative within East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.
In March 2018, fire services from East, West and Surrey joined together to make the HeForShe pledge.
The East Sussex Fire & Rescue HeForShe priorities are to:
- Become an employer of choice for women in our community, fostering an inclusive culture which promotes gender equality in the workplace and attracts more women into a career of firefighting.
- Improve workforce gender balance in all roles and at all ranks/grades. Continue with parity in Senior Leadership Team by 2020.
- To improve the engagement, experience, development and promotion opportunities for women in our workforce.
Where we are
Become an employer of choice for women in our community, fostering an inclusive culture which promotes gender equality in the workplace and attracts more women into a career of firefighting.
- Operational firefighters are predominately male although 6% of our workforce are female including our Chief Fire Officer. In 2018, we secured representation at all levels comparable to total number of female firefighter from Firefighter to Principle Officer and will continue to strive to maintain this, not only encouraging the recruitment of women to the service but also providing progression opportunities. As indicated women are significantly under-represented in the operational firefighter workforce. We are committed to increasing the number and percentage of women firefighters. Positive engagement on our recent wholetime recruitment secured 12.8% females participation and our first training course for 8 years was 25% women.
- In September 2018, East Sussex Fire & Rescue held an inaugural HeForShe Advocates workshop. Over 20 Fire Service staff (including operational staff) attended. The aim of the workshop was to build on the organisational commitment which we made in March 2018.
Improve workforce gender balance in all roles and at all ranks/grades. Continue with parity in Senior Leadership Team by 2020
- In East Sussex Fire & Rescue, the mean gender pay gap is calculated to be -7.3% or 98p per hour. This is down from - 10.4% from the -17.7% reported in 2017. This reduction was achieved through changes within our operational cadre, the promotion of a number of women to higher and more technical roles within our support staff and the continued representation of women across most levels of the organisation.
- In 2019, our Senior Leadership team consists of 10 members, five of which are female. (50%).
To improve the engagement, experience, development and promotion opportunities for women in our workforce.
- East Sussex Fire and Rescue has a well-established Gender Inclusion Network (GIN)which aims to encourage equality, inspire positive change, and create an inclusive working environment for all.
- On Monday 26 November 2018, we welcomed blue light colleagues from across the region to a special development day at our Service Training Centre entitled ‘It Starts With You.’ “We wanted to help staff feel more confident to take on new challenges, not only linking in with the traditional promotional route we often follow, but expanding skills in different areas of our work. We also wanted to explore the idea of “leadership” and what it means, looking at how you could be a leader in different ways.” Organised by the Gender Inclusion Network, the day began with a welcome from CFO Dawn Whittaker who set the stage for a day of learning and new experiences. A range of workshops were on offer including incident command training, ‘Step Forward’ sessions, Dementia Friends, RTC extrication demonstrations and well-being sessions.
Where we are going
- We are funding and supporting 5 places at the WFS National Training & Development Event at the Fire Service College in June 2019. This year’s event is focused on “Celebrating difference, improving delivery”. Activities include fire behaviour, intro to Hazmat, Dynamic Situational Awareness & Operational Decision Making, Fire Behaviours, Abseiling and Building a mentoring relationship.
- In November 2019, we are intending to run a second HeForShe advocates event in conjunction with Wealden District Council.
- In November 2019, we are intending to run a second ‘It Starts With You’ development day at our Service Training Centre. Themes for the development day will include unconscious bias, the importance of language and what inclusion means to the Fire Service.
- We will continue to improve workforce gender balance in all roles and at all ranks/grades. This will be carried out by the continuous promotion of a number of women to higher and more technical roles within our support staff and the continued representation of women across most levels of the organisation.
- We are increasing visibility of diversity in our educational and recruitment materials.
- We are supporting The Girls Network and recruiting mentors across the Service. The Girls’ Network was established as a one-to-one mentoring scheme in 2013, based on research showing that conversations and personal relationships could have a big impact on challenging stereotypes and expectations. Their mission is to inspire and empower girls from the least advantaged communities by connecting them with a mentor and a network of professional female role models. The Network operates across London and the South Coast.
Latest Update : 14 January 2021