JOINING THE CONVERSATION: Tanya Whittman will be one of the guest speakers at Dalby’s International Womens Day on March 6.
JOINING THE CONVERSATION: Tanya Whittman will be one of the guest speakers at Dalby’s International Womens Day on March 6.

CONFIRMED: Dalby’s International Womens day speakers announced

TANYA Whittman has faced some 'hairy' situations while working as the group leader for the Western Downs SES.

"The last time I was scared on the job was when we were faced with flood water, we were arriving to a call out and there was a rather large amount of water that we didn't see coming into it," Ms Whittman explained.

"Luckily we are provided with outstanding training that prepares us to keep our cool when we are faced with difficult decisions and prevent us from being in a sticky situation ourselves."

Ms Whittman was recently announced as one of five speakers for this years International Womens Day event, after being recognised for her efforts in breaking the stigma around being a woman in 'man's world.'

"The personal stigma that a certain job has to be done by a male or that only a female can do a certain job, I want to see the end of that and for women to be respected in the field that they choose," Ms Whittman said.

Approached by the Chamber of Commerce to speak on the day, Ms Whittman is grateful for the opportunity.

"I am thrilled to be speaking - it's an honour really - it tells me that I am valued for what I do," she said.

Ms Whittman has been with the SES for nearly seven years, in that time she can recall countless incidences where she has arrived to complete a job only to be condemned based on her gender.

"I attended a job where an older gentlemen's roof was leaking and I had to take some tarp out to cover it," she said.

"He said he would never have called the SES if he knew they were sending out a female to fix it.

"I think for the older generation it is hard to grasp the gender equality movement but once that education is in place it will make it easier."

As group leader in the SES, Ms Whittman has seen a change in attitude for women in traditionally male-dominated roles.

"We have had two new female members start recently along with a male and the response to that has been very positive," she said.

Ms Whittman has also taken it upon herself to start a movement called Empowering Women in Orange, which aims to provide a place for woman in the field of work that they are not alone.

"While we still understand that it is a male-dominated field and it might feel like you are alone at time but we are all here for you and respect you for what you do," she said.

"The support that we have received from our male co-workers has been amazing.

"I don't think they understood at the start that there was such a stigma but once it was brought to their attention they were really conscious of the fact, they have been great."

Although Ms Whittman has not had much time to think about what exactly she wishes to say at the event in March, she admitted that it will most likely be cover overcoming the stereotypes she has faced.

"I think just reflecting on what I have been through will be in terms of bridging the gap," she said.

"Events like this are a great way to break down those barriers and have these conversations.

"By having inclusion in the workplace, it will make for a better world for everyone."

The International Womens Day luncheon will held at the Dalby Leagues Club on Friday March 6 from 3.30pm, with other speeches from Warrego MP Ann Leahy, oppostion leader Deb Frecklington, Jodie Taylor, Tracey Ryan and a special guest appearance from Vanessa A Fowler, who is the sister of the late Allison Baden-Clay.

All are welcome, tickets are available for purchase on www.dalbytickets.com.au.


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