District 7 Fire & Rescue acknowledges International Women’s Day, March 8, 2021, and recognizes the importance of women’s equality globally. District 7 Fire & Rescue is proud to share the words of Denise Thompson, Director, Resiliency 7 Peer Support for our Department.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, celebrated around the world. #ChooseToChallenge is the theme for International Women's Day 2021. In our world today, women, with the support of men, are continuing to push for equality. Women fight stereotypes, sexism, gender inequality, and in many countries women are at significantly high risk for domestic violence, sexual assault and homicide. We, in the US, cannot ignore what happens around the world. I cannot count my blessings without acknowledging the difficulties women face every day.
I also have experienced the increasing opportunities women have and how we can #ChooseToChallenge the status quo. I am grateful for the challenge/opportunity of joining the Air Force at age 25, culminating with my retirement as a Colonel. At times it was difficult with the primarily male environment; there were stereotypes and the “good ole boy” system to deal with. As women before me, I #ChooseToChallenge the system which hopefully created a better place for women in the future. I am grateful for all the women, within the military and in society, whom started to clear the path for me.
Today, I have one of the best jobs I could have imagined, using all of my skills acquired over the past 30 years, working with District 7 Fire & Rescue, as Director, Resiliency & Peer Support. Though I am the only female, and not a firefighter/paramedic, I am able to influence not only my Department but the many Departments I support with training and crisis response. I am able to support women in the first responder occupations by being available, a listening ear, and providing a level of understanding from having worked primarily in male-dominated occupations. Equality for women, does not mean negating or demeaning men; it means being alongside and working together. True equality is not “demoting” one gender in favor of another; true equality is eliminating all barriers for all genders.
We, as human beings continue to evolve; all societies started from a specific perspective, whether right or wrong. We, women and men, have the opportunity to #ChooseToChallenge all inequalities in the workplace, in our communities, in personal interactions, in our homes, and throughout the world. Change occurs when each one of us takes the opportunity to #ChooseToChallenge. Never underestimate the power you, that each one of us has, to create change. Every day we #ChooseToChallenge is a day we move humanity forward.