Record numbers of women are choosing a career as a lifesaving paramedic, 30 years since the very first female paramedics hit the road in Victoria.
Minister for Ambulance Services Jill Hennessy today celebrated the historic anniversary and met Victoria’s pioneering first female paramedics in operational roles.
On 27 July 1987, Andrea Wyatt became one of Victoria’s first two female paramedics in metropolitan Melbourne. Soon after, Melissa Buckingham was the first and only female paramedic in rural Victoria. Georgie Hall became the fourth female paramedic in 1988.
Andrea continued to break new ground, becoming the first qualified MICA female paramedic in 1993 and the first female Clinical Support Officer in 1995.
Thirty years later, the paramedic workforce is changing rapidly. Ambulance Victoria is a leader in the traditionally male-dominated emergency services sector, with women now making up 47 per cent of Ambulance Victoria staff.
And this number is increasing significantly with females today making up about 57 per cent of graduate paramedic applicants.
Women also fill key leadership roles such as MICA paramedics, team and group managers, and in corporate management.
The Andrews Labor Government promotes diversity, inclusion and flexibility in the workplace, this includes supporting more women to take on leadership roles within our highly-skilled ambulance workforce.
The Labor Government has been working hard to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of our paramedics.
Our $60 million Response Time Rescue Fund is supporting more than 52,000 hours of additional paramedic training focussed on improving mental health and well-being and reducing occupational violence.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Ambulance Services Jill Hennessy
“It’s hard to believe that as recently as 30 years ago women couldn’t be paramedics due to unfair workplace regulations that prevented them from lifting more than 16kg on the job.”
“While women have only been in the service since 1987, they have made a remarkable contribution to it – and Ambulance Victoria continues to lead the way in giving women the equal opportunities and support they deserve.”
“Through our record investment in our ambulance service, we’re supporting our paramedics to do what they do best – save lives.”