Why attend WAFA 2023

Curi­ous as to why you should attend WAFA 2023 or send mem­bers of your organ­i­sa­tion? Fol­low­ing our high­ly suc­cess­ful 2018 Con­fer­ence in Welling­ton WAFA in con­junc­tion with our part­ners pro­duced a num­ber of lega­cy doc­u­ments. These doc­u­ments include the con­fer­ence report, out­comes state­ment and work­shop eval­u­a­tion they give you an overview of some of the top­ics dis­cussed and learn­ing out­comes and ben­e­fits you can expect from attend­ing a WAFA Conference. 


This WAFA Out­comes State­ment is a con­sid­ered and com­pre­hen­sive cap­ture of the dis­cus­sion and con­clu­sions from the 2018 WAFA Con­fer­ence. I was pleased to be able to attend the Con­fer­ence and hear first­hand the expe­ri­ences and chal­lenges fac­ing women in fire ser­vices. I have absolute­ly no doubt, that women in fire ser­vices make these vital pub­lic insti­tu­tions more effec­tive, more reflec­tive of the com­mu­ni­ties they serve and help cre­ate a safer work envi­ron­ment for all fire­fight­ers. Con­grat­u­la­tions to WAFA in seiz­ing the ini­tia­tive and pub­lish­ing the out­comes from WAFA 18, so we can all ben­e­fit from read­ing and act­ing on the con­sid­er­a­tions made at the time.’

Stu­art Ellis, AM


We can­not hope’ for change; we need to be delib­er­ate in our actions to bring about the much need­ed change in equal­i­ty and equi­ty bal­ance. Hir­ing and plac­ing lead­ers who demon­strate this com­mit­ment to trans­form an old oppres­sive cul­ture into a high­ly adapt­able, high per­for­mance cul­ture will need to have trans­for­ma­tion­al Lead­er­ship as a core val­ue and belief with­in each per­son and with­in each team. Trans­for­ma­tion­al Lead­er­ship which will result in equi­ty for many under­rep­re­sent­ed groups will be messy and uncom­fort­able at first. Let’s just acknowl­edge from this point for­ward that we will have to become com­fort­able with some uncom­fort­able real­i­ties of our past.’ 

Kel­ly Martin 

Chief of Fire and Avi­a­tion Man­age­ment at Yosemite Nation­al Park

This doc­u­ment reflects the huge pos­i­tiv­i­ty I felt at the 2018 WAFA con­fer­ence. It gives ser­vices across Aus­trala­sia the oppor­tu­ni­ty to embrace the ded­i­ca­tion and tal­ent that women bring to fire­fight­ing I was com­plete­ly over­whelmed by the women (& men) who attend­ed the 2018 WAFA con­fer­ence. This state­ment is tes­ta­ment to their com­mit­ment to sup­port­ing ser­vices to embrace a diverse and pro­duc­tive work­force to meet the chal­lenges of the future.’ 

Alex John­son

Deputy Chief Fire Offi­cer at South York­shire Fire and Res­cue Service

This Out­come State­ment is a deep analy­sis of the 2018 WAFA Con­fer­ence, col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly devel­oped through a team approach, ably led by Nao­mi Bai­ley. The Out­come State­ment con­sid­ers not only what hap­pened in the con­fer­ence itself and the infor­mal net­work­ing around it, but impli­ca­tions for the future. It cap­tures the com­plex­i­ty fac­ing women as they nav­i­gate a his­tor­i­cal­ly male domain, and the chal­lenges of trans­form­ing the sec­tor into one more reflec­tive of our soci­ety and our times.

Dr Debra Parkinson

Adjunct Research Fel­low, Monash Uni­ver­si­ty dis­as­ter Resilience Initiative

Man­ag­er of Research, Advo­ca­cy and Policy.

Women’s Health In the North and Women’s Health Goul­burn North East

Reviews from Par­tic­i­pants in 2018

Par­tic­i­pants respond­ed strong­ly giv­ing the most detailed respons­es to this ques­tion. One
of the areas high­light­ed as help­ful was a sense of val­i­da­tion of worth with­in the
work­place and what is pos­si­ble, which was motivational.

It has pro­vid­ed me with an insight and a new­found con­fi­dence that I can be me
in this industry.”

Gave me a boost to moti­vate more women to join fire­fight­ing and even to
suc­ceed in every­day life, gave myself a boost in confidence.”

I have increased aware­ness of trans­for­ma­tion issues and a bet­ter sense of my
own agency to cham­pi­on and achieve change. My research direc­tion and
the­o­ret­i­cal approach have now been val­i­dat­ed.”
For oth­ers, the con­fer­ence had direct impact on their actions in rela­tion to their careers:

I am moti­vat­ed to be heard and advance myself.”

I have a clear objec­tive. I have a meet­ing with my AM on the Mon­day after
get­ting back, with path­ways advice and sug­ges­tions. I made the appoint­ment
straight after Kel­ly Mar­tins Be Brave’ talk.”

It has already influ­enced my career, as I had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to put my hand up
for a role that I am not a 100% fit for which I would­n’t have done pre­vi­ous­ly.”
There were also respons­es that out­lined the con­tri­bu­tion of the con­fer­ence in rela­tion to
increased net­works and con­nec­tions to sup­port activities.

I have made so many con­nec­tions at WAFA and solid­i­fied the exist­ing
rela­tion­ships I already had. I know I have a group of women and men that I trust
to count on for advice and sup­port in the com­ing years.”

I am now con­tem­plat­ing hav­ing a career men­tor. It has also been very pos­i­tive
in terms of networking”.

Hope­ful­ly with the con­nec­tions I’ve made, I will be able to move clos­er to my