Country Lady's

Living in a rural community can be fantastic. You have peace and quiet and can move at your own pace without being worried about slowing the people around you down. If you’re a parent it brings with it wonderful opportunities for your children. There are plenty of wide open spaces so they can spend more time outside riding their bikes, playing sports or simply getting some much needed fresh air.

Cheerful young woman agriculture engineer.

People in rural communities tend to have a greater sense of exactly that, community. When you live in the city it’s a foreign concept that you’d knock on your neighbour’s door and become friends with them. Why would you when there are thousands of other people you can contact through work, clubs, sports or simply buying your morning coffee?

Small town folk approach things differently. Think of a small town like a club or a school. When you go to a club or school everyone somehow knows everyone and is friends with everyone. Because there are fewer people to gel with, they tend to communicate with each other better. That means if you’re in a small town you’ll think nothing of going to your neighbour’s house and knocking on their door during the day or early evening unannounced. Often people in small towns welcome the company because it’s so hard to come by.

Due to that constant interaction with the same people day in day out, they become very close with each other, so if you’re in a farming community the farmers (typically men, although more and more, women are getting into farming and agriculture) would socialise while the farmers’ wives would congregate over coffee or snacks in the house (although that is changing with women taking on farming responsibilities themselves) and then their children would become friends with each other. It becomes a very close knit community where everyone looks out for each other, so if you’re in trouble your neighbours will help you.

Of course, unfortunately there are drawbacks to living in small communities.

Where do your teenagers gain work experience? Generally if you live in a rural community, employment opportunities are limited, however there are still options available. If you live in a mining town then you could contact the local office of the mining company to see if they have any vacancies for teenagers during the school holidays.  That may be difficult though because generally speaking, the mines are run by large companies which have a strict recruitment process in place.

Adorable toddler boy having fun in a wheelbarrow being pushed by mum.

If you’re in a farming community it’s easier because most farms are owner operated and if you’re part of a close knit community then the chances are that the farm owner will give your son or daughter a go, even if only as a favour to you. Then after a while they’ll have proven themselves and that will help them with their next opportunity in the town or in another area if they choose to leave when they’ve completed their HSC.

Other common opportunities for teenagers or even adults in rural communities are retail, administration for a local farming business or fruit picking.

That’s how it used to be anyway. With advancements in technology it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Look out for part B of our work opportunities in rural communities blog post, which will discuss options available for women in remote areas and why it’s important that women in remote areas work.

If you are running your own business out in the country we would love to know more about you and your business listed in this directory.

By Libby Shaw. Part 1, look out for part 2.

 

Fembuiz DirectoryFemales that mean Business

NSW Fire

Traditionally when we think of firefighting, we think of firemen in their uniforms. We often sexualise them and see them as objects of affection. Many women spend their time fantasising about what it would be like to be with a fireman. They, like Samantha from Sex and the City imagine that it’s all about climbing down the firemen’s pole as she famously did in the first episode of season 3, however the reality is more like a later scene when she quickly had to change out of the fireman’s uniform leaving her naked while the firemen went and extinguished the fires.

Although Sex and the City painted the firefighting profession as glamorous, the reality is much different as Australian firefighters would know. One such firefighter is Kat Robinson Williams who has attracted controversy because she’s fighting fires while pregnant. She’s confidently responded by saying that she’s a firefighter and that she’s a woman but that she doesn’t care if people don’t like what she’s doing. Her concern is that the state of NSW is up in flames. Rather than focusing on her being pregnant, shouldn’t we be commending her for being willing to step up and help the state when it’s in need? Why should gender even factor into the equation?

What a lot of people don’t realise is that firefighters are given extensive training so it doesn’t actually matter what gender you are.

The NSW RFS website features an information booklet which contains all you need to know about becoming a volunteer firefighter. It has five key areas:

  1. Foundation
  2. Technical
  3. Supervision
  4. Command
  5. Strategic.

Each of the areas focuses on ensuring that firefighters have the tools necessary to fight fires and make an ever lasting impact for our country.   

At the foundation level, you’ll learn all there is to know about the ground work.

The technical level will see you become qualified so that you can extinguish fires with or without supervision.

When you study supervision you’ll learn how to lead other volunteer firefighters.

More senior is the command level where you’ll develop the skills to lead entire crews on the ground so they can perform firefighting duties effectively.

For those who’d rather look at strategy, the Strategic level is ideal and will teach you how to develop strategies and plans to manage firefighting activities.

All levels will see you learn the theory before you put it into practice and get to work on the ground.

We need more female fire fighters across Australia

So what exactly is firefighting like for a woman?

Despite gender equality and women having higher workforce participation rates, the rate of women firefighters is extremely low. In Victoria, only 80 of 2000 CFA members are women. Although it’s changing it’s still got a long way to go. The women receive the exact same training as the men and work just as hard.

46 year old, Melbourne Water firefighting crew leader and operations officer Renelle Verkes recounts how the force was much different to when she first joined. When she first joined it was uncommon to see women in the CFA because of the bloke perception and any women who were involved would be doing the administration or making the firemen sandwiches, whereas now they’re out in the field putting out blaze.

There are however all female firefighting crews in some areas of the US including Brockton Massachusetts and believe they set a great example of whats possible.

If you’re interested in joining any of Australia’s volunteer fire services head along to one of these links:

NSW – Rural Fire Service

Victoria – Country Fire Authority

SA – Country Fire Service

Tasmania – Tasmania Fire Service

WA – Department of Fire and Emergency Services

ACT – Rural Fire Service

NT – Fire and Rescue Services

 

Come Join a crew, Australia needs YOU. 

 

Written by Libby Shaw.

Edited and Supported by Rebecca Bennett, Founder of Fembuiz Directory.

 

Rebecca Bennett – Greater Hope Downs & West Angelas Emergency Response – Rio Tinto

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