INSPIRING: QFES'S Megan Stiffler shares stories of working in a male dominated industry at the International Women's Day Celebration Breakfast in Gatton.
INSPIRING: QFES'S Megan Stiffler shares stories of working in a male dominated industry at the International Women's Day Celebration Breakfast in Gatton. Francis Witsenhuysen

Trailblazer inspires at women's day event

INTERNATIONAL Women's Day is upon us, and to celebrate members of the Lockyer community gathered to share breakfast, stories and to recognise the crucial contributions of women from all walks of life.

Sharing her story and quest for gender equality was guest speaker Queensland Fire and Emergency Director of Regional Operations for QFES South Western Region, Acting Chief Superintendent, Megan Stiffler.

Act Supt Stiffler was the first QFES female on an international deployment as part of an Urban Search and Rescue Team flown into Christchurch after their devastating earthquake in 2011.

"Christchurch was a real eye opener, and I have embraced feminism even more, from it,” she said.

"Feminism is not evil, it's about celebrating the women who bring to the table. It's about owning who you are and presenting as a capable woman, no matter where you are.

As one of the 75 Australians flown into Christchurch, QFES Act Supt Stiffler explained the women to men ratio.

"There was a female fire comms operator and a female dog handler, and because we were so few in numbers, we included one of the search dogs who was female,” she said.

"There was about 3000 international search and rescue people all up, and about six females... including the dog.”

During her experience, the now Toowoomba based QFES Act Supt Stiffler said she made an impact on some of the men and through that, made some long lasting friendships.

"Men could be vulnerable with me, they opened up to me because they could be seen as weak if he did so among his peers,” she said.

"As a woman, I add value, I bring a different perspective.

She said equity for women cannot be achieved without men.

"Equity means when we are allowed to be the best we can be on a level playing field,” QFES Act Supt Stiffler said.

"If we are trying to get equity, in the work place or community we need it to be done with men, we need to let them understand that us winning is not at their expense. It doesn't have to be win, lose it's a win win. If women are strong and in community and leading, men benefit.

"That's where we need to celebrate include and encourage men, to achieve equity.”

The International Women's Day Celebration Breakfast was held at the Gatton Shire Hall and was hosted by Laidley Women's Group and the Lockyer Valley Regional Council.