Police Minister thanks QLD's female officers

THE women serving in emergency services throughout Queensland's diverse regional areas prove every day that gender is no barrier.

That is the view of Police Minister Jack Dempsey on the eve of International Women's Day as he thanked every female police officer and emergency services worker for their commitment to protecting all Queenslanders.

"Our female staff and volunteers spend countless hours working in difficult and dangerous conditions to ensure the safety and security of their local communities," Mr Dempsey said.

Women made up more than 25% of the state's 11,269 sworn police officers and there are more than 2100 female State Emergency Services volunteers who represent about 35% of all active members across Queensland.

Of the 8700 women who volunteer with the Rural Fire Service Queensland, more than 2200 female volunteers work in operational firefighter roles.

Another 200 female auxiliary firefighters work in regional communities.

QPS Commissioner Ian Stewart said International Women's Day provided the service was "a great opportunity to reflect on our responsibility in working towards the eradication of gender inequality".

Zara Dane and Eileen O'Donnell were appointed as the first two policewomen in March, 1931.

In 1965, the first eight women sworn in as constables received the same powers and rank as male officers.

In 2008, Kathy Rynders became the first female officer appointed to the rank of Deputy Commissioner.

QFES Commissioner Lee Johnson said International Women's Day was a reminder of how far women had come in all industries, particularly emergency services.

"A short nine years ago, there were only 16 permanent female firefighters in Queensland but today we have 64 permanent female firefighters, one female inspector and three station officers," Mr Johnson said.

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