Life Saving Victoria (LSV) have marked International Women’s Day with a special breakfast on 3 March to celebrate the important contributions of women in the Victorian lifesaving movement over the past 125 years.
While attendees heard from keynote speakers Victoria Police Superintendent Janet Stevenson and Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation Chief Executive Officer Lucinda Nolan on the ground, the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service took to the skies, specially wrapped in pink for the occasion.
Under the watchful eye of the helicopter, an all-female LSV crew performed a mock rescue to showcase the strength and expertise of LSV’s female volunteers.
With a 50:50 membership of male and female volunteers at LSV, LSV Director Membership and Leadership Development Angela Malan said she was proud to know that on any given patrol day in Victoria, a woman was just as likely to perform a prevention, first aid or rescue as a man.
“It is important for LSV to celebrate what we have achieved and the champions of change both women and male who have supported us to have such a strong membership,” Ms Malan said.
The 50:50 membership is also reflected at the highest level within LSV, with the organisation being led by a majority female (55 per cent) board.
“To me, it feels normal to serve on a majority female board,” Ms Malan said. “It is representative of our members and of society, everyone at LSV has an opportunity to represent our members on our board.”
The 2021 theme for International Women’s Day was #ChooseToChallenge, encouraging both female and male allies to call out gender inequality or bias when they see it.
While Ms Malan is proud of the positive steps towards equality within LSV, she recognised what still needs to be done to continue the journey to a more equal organisation.
“You can’t be what you can’t see, so we need to continue supporting our female mentors and offering opportunities for our younger female members to grow,” she said.
“We are proud to have many female leaders within clubs in senior positions like club captains, chief instructors and chief lifeguards, but the number of female presidents is still not representative across the state.
“We need to continue encouraging people to step up into these roles and supporting women to rise through the ranks.”