Michelle Brotherton (West Midlands Ambulance Trust) Sam Pink (Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Service) and Liz Warner (West Mercia Police) support the theme of #InspireInclusion for International Women's Day 2024.

Why International Women’s Day is inspiring inclusion across Worcestershire’s Emergency Services

by | Feb 29, 2024

Female leaders within the emergency services across Worcestershire share their views on International Women’s Day (IWD) and what it means to them. The theme this year is Inspire Inclusion, with the aim of the campaign to collectively forge a more inclusive world for women.

As seen online and in print in The Worcester News and The Evesham Journal.

CAPTION: L-R: Michelle Brotherton (West Midlands Ambulance Trust) Sam Pink (Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Service) and Liz Warner (West Mercia Police) support the theme of #InspireInclusion for International Women’s Day 2024.

Michelle Brotherton, Non-Emergency Services Operations Delivery and Improvement Director at West Midlands Ambulance Trust, has 30 years’ experience in the service, joining at age 16. She is also currently Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer and remains an operational paramedic. Michelle confirms that:

“When I started, we had a handful of operational female emergency staff and we now make up 50.15%.

Overall, across all staff, the split is 51.6%.

The Assistant Chief continues: This demonstrates how much work West Midlands Ambulance Service has undertaken to not only attract female team members but also increase female staff throughout the ranks.”

Michelle also remarks: “Reflecting back to where we were when I started, it’s amazing to see the progress. I’m really proud of my career, joining as a 16-year-old straight from school, and also raising four children whilst managing my job. Obviously, you need a good infrastructure and support network but if I can do it, so can you!”

Sam Pink, Area Commander, Assistant Director of Response at Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Service agrees:

“As someone who spent most of my career in a male-dominated sector and as a female Senior Leader in a Fire and Rescue Service, I recognise that promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion is not a goal; it is a responsibility.”

The Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Service employee network groups play a critical role in helping Sam and the team appreciate differences and create forums to build a culture of empathy and respect. Sam continues:

“At Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service women can see themselves represented at all levels of the organisation. Almost 40 percent of the Service’s corporate board is comprised of female directors. This is only the beginning…

Area Commander Pink confirms: “We wholly support the #InspireInclusion theme, in creating an equitable and inclusive workplace for all team members. Everyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion, wants to work for an organisation that prioritises their health and well-being, promotes education and career opportunities, and provides opportunities to develop.”

Det Insp Liz Warner is a Public Protection Criminal Justice Inspector, part of the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Taskforce and Women of West Mercia staff network (Wow) Lead. Liz is proud that The Women of West Mercia staff network now has a membership of over 500 women, all engaging in creating change, supporting each other and making friends, she concludes:

Women have the power to create change by being confident in speaking up and being heard. We need to challenge when appropriate, be confident in making suggestions, embrace our traditional ‘feminine’ qualities as our superpowers. Every day I am amazed by the power of our collaboration. Happy International Women’s Day everyone!“

Author – Ruby Edwards.

West Midlands Ambulance Trust:

Michelle is also the Executive Sponsor of the well-established women’s network, who have a big day planned for IWD2024. The service encourages and has put in place, for example, menopause champions, health and wellbeing officers as well as diversity champions to promote and include women within the force. The Trust’s ‘Springboard’ programme also aims to support females through the ranks. https://wmas.nhs.uk/

Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Service:

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service recently hosted an annual event ‘Lift As You Climb’, uniting women in motivational career and personal development discussions. Two professional and inspiring women speakers attended: Sarah-Jayne Bray and Georgina Gilbert. Sarah talked about her experience as Chair of the South Wales Policing Gender Equality Network, her career journey, and how to build self-confidence. She spoke of ‘truth to power’ and what she considers game changers, when looking to turbo charge your development. Georgina was nominated as the most influential LGBT individual in the Fire Service, by Excellence in Fire and Emergency. She went on to successfully pioneer a new route across the South Pole, completing a 1,230km ski across the Antarctic in temperatures as low as -50 degrees.

Our Women@HWFire group inspires success and empowerment, cultivates community among women in the Service, and encourages them to connect to share advice and support on career development.”

Sam Pink says: “Seeing women in roles within the Fire Sector will inspire every girl and young woman who thinks that they can’t participate because of their gender. We want to inspire them to find their determination to change the narrative of what it means to be a girl, and achieve great things far beyond their own and others’ expectations.

You are the best advocate for yourself and the change you want to see. Saying “yes” to new opportunities can make you feel more powerful.

Together, we can #InspireInclusion by increasing female visibility and cultivating career growth to help shape a healthier and safer world for everyone, everywhere, every day.”


West Mercia Police:

Liz says: “The theme of our 2024 IWD conference in West Mercia Police is ‘Our Legacy’… which is borne out of a conversation with a female colleague, Claire, due to retire shortly, and how she was thinking about what she was leaving behind.”

‘Our Legacy’ will capture the various chapters throughout the careers of women in West Mercia – from joining policing, to a team move, promotion and contact with a member of the public – this reflective initiative invites members to always ask themselves: “what trace am I leaving behind?” This is especially important at a time when policing needs to improve its relationship with the public they serve.

Liz and her colleagues also continue spearheading the HeForShe movement on how to be ‘Respectfully Disruptive’ and, on 8th March, aim to bury a time capsule with their hopes and promises for the future – with the aim to one day dig up and explore. https://www.westmercia.police.uk/


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