Conference Theme and Call for Abstracts
WAFA Conference 2023
WAFA23 | Sustaining Diversity
Much work has been done in the past 30 years to increase the recruitment of women to the fire and emergency services, but the proportion of women in specialist and senior roles remains low. How do we support and empower women to plan and advance their careers in the sector? How do we bring diversity to all areas and levels of the sector?
The challenges of the increasing risk and impact of disasters and the opportunities of changing approaches to emergency management and technical innovation are creating new roles and mindsets. Fire and emergency services need diverse representation and diverse viewpoints to effectively represent and respond to community needs. How do we grow and sustain a workplace culture that is safe and inclusive for all?
WAFA23 Supporting Topics
The WAFA Board is calling for abstracts for presentations that will share research, programs and case studies that will inspire delegates to sustain and grow diversity in their careers and organisations. You are invited to submit abstracts under one or more of the following supporting topics.
WAFA23 | Sustaining Diversity
Attracting, retaining and promoting women in the diverse range of roles in the fire and emergency services such as career firefighters, volunteer firefighters, on-call firefighters, project firefighters, spontaneous volunteers, administration and support personnel, industrial brigades, defence firefighters, aviation firefighters, and emergency managers.
What are the barriers, what are the opportunities? Have you research or experience to share in exploring issues like bias, intersectionality, personal protective equipment or gender pay gaps?
Once someone has joined the fire service and gained basic firefighting qualifications, there are many possible pathways to a diverse and rewarding career. Are there unconscious biases or systemic barriers discouraging women and diverse groups from accessing specialist positions and development opportunities?
How do we promote diversity and inclusion in the range of opportunities such as:
- Rescue, hazmat, medical, aviation, communications and dispatch
- Fire engineering, fire investigation, research
- Disaster preparation, planning, response and recovery, community engagement, resilience-building
- Incident management, emergency management, intelligence, analysis
- Interstate and overseas deployments, humanitarian assistance
How do people plan, and organisations support, career planning and professional development in the fire and emergency sector?
- Leadership at all levels, from the brigade to the boardroom, and for all workers from the spontaneous volunteer to the career officer
- Progression and promotion programs, fast track, executive track
- Attracting women to a career in emergency services, youth programs, cadetships, apprenticeships
- Networking, mentoring, alternative pathways, technical and higher education
Health and wellbeing
Health and wellbeing are key areas of concern for emergency services. Are the needs of diverse groups being addressed?
- Inclusion of women and diverse groups in firefighter health and wellbeing research
- Alternate duties during and return to work after pregnancy
- Fitness, lifestyle, life/work balance, flexible work arrangements
- Mental health and wellbeing
Abstract nominations close Monday 13th February
Abstract Selection Process
Abstract submissions for WAFA23 are open to all, including career staff, volunteers, researchers and academics, industry, community and all levels of government. The submission and selection process is as follows, and please ensure you have the approval and support from your agency before submitting an abstract:
STAGE 1: Authors are invited to lodge a personal submission, a submission on a colleague’s behalf, or a submission on behalf of their organisation, addressing the relevant theme and topics. An author can submit multiple abstracts for consideration by the Conference Committee. Submissions open on November 22, 2022 and require written responses which can be uploaded via the online submission system.
STAGE 2: Submissions must be lodged online and completed by Monday, February 6, 2023.
STAGE 3: Submissions will be reviewed by the Program Committee who will assess each submission. The Committee will score each submission based on its relevance to the overall conference theme and the topic being addressed.
STAGE 4: Submissions are assessed and shortlisted, and the final oral presenters are selected by the Program Committee — these will then be endorsed by the Steering Committee on April 4, 2023.
STAGE 5: Authors who have been successful in being granted an oral presentation and/or poster presentation will be notified as soon as possible following endorsement from the Steering Committee.
STAGE 6: Authors must accept their offer by April 28, 2023. Following the acceptance of the offer, speakers agree to register to attend the Conference and provide the following:
- An oral presentation (if applicable) including accompanying PowerPoint slides (event template will be distributed accordingly)
- A high resolution head-shot and 200 word bio to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
- A pre-recorder version of your final presentation for contingency purposes