THERE were many happy faces and smiles yesterday when 11 young women were commissioned as the first women firefighters with the Papua New Guinea Fire Service.
They and their 16 male colleagues had undergone three months of extensive training which came to an end yesterday when they were commissioned as fully-fledged firefighters.
It was a historical moment for the PNGFS when the first batch of females recruits had successfully passed out and now geared up to fight fire, and rescue road accidents victims.
A jubilant fire chief Isaac Silas said he was more than proud to see the women passing out, with some having attained awards for being the best rescue and others
“It’s indeed a moment to mark a special occasion for PNGFS to see its first batch of women passing out,” Mr Silas said.
“This is an indication of how determined and aspiring our women are to make a difference and compete with a job that is always perceived as exclusive to men given the toughness and risks associated with.
“I would like to commend them for setting precedent for others to follow so that PNGFS can have a balanced workforce and allow for women to have a fair go,” he said.
Wendy Jimmy, a mother of two from Baimuru, Gulf province, said training had not been easy.
“It was physical, tough but we have endured and finally I am ready to go out and put into action what I have been trained to do.”
Colleague Roddie Noni, from East New Britain province, and mother of one, said: “I am jubilant and relieved after an intensive, hard training.”
“There has been a lot of challenges for my colleagues and I but we now realise that we can do anything that seems impossible for women,” she said.