(Photo: Brit Floyd courtesy Pam McDonald)
Character development is at the heart of our development, not only as a leader, but as a human being. – John Maxwell
In 1971, Helen Ready released her song "I Am Woman". I loved her song at the time and I love her now. You see, talking about gender is not something new. Having been a victim of forest fires for over 30 years, I have seen the issue of gender equality evolve. Some might say that I am a survivor. I consider myself a good and loyal servant. You see, I see firefighters as human beings – not men or women.
This perspective allows me to live in a spectrum of colors and light rather than in a black-and-white world (the polar extremes of the spectrum) in terms of professional performance. My gender does not affect the physical or mental ability and the assumptions of society should not dictate whether or not I am qualified for a job. Maybe it's time for us to change the way we see femininity and masculinity, be kind to each other, and embrace our differences.
That being said…
I can do everything
I am strong
I'm a woman
Waiting next time, be careful and be good, be a good human!
Want more? Check out Alexis Waldron's "Lead Authentically" resources for the 2017 National Forest Fire Leadership Campaign.
Pam McDonald is an editor and publisher for BLM Wildland Fire Training and Workforce Development and a member of the NWCG Leadership subcommittee. The expressions are those of the author.