Australia/United States joint panel discussion about a woman’s career in fire

Simultaneously live streamed from both Sydney and Albuquerque

One of the more interesting events at the International Association of Wildland Fire’s (IAWF) Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference this week was that some speakers were being live streamed from Albuquerque, New Mexico; Sydney, Australia; and Marseille, France. At times presenters were contributing to one event simultaneously from two continents.

An example was the joint panel discussion live streamed from Albuquerque and Sydney Wednesday afternoon. Each site had three or four panelists discussing A Life and a Career in Fire, from a woman’s viewpoint.

women in wildland fire panel discussion
The stream from Sydney. New South Wales Rural Fire Service photo.
women in wildland fire panel discussion
The stream from Albuquerque. Bill Gabbert Photo.

women in wildland fire panel discussion

The panelists talked about how a woman’s career in a male-dominated work force can be different from a man’s, the challenges they faced, and how they reacted or dealt with the issues.

One notable comment was from Deanne Shulman, the first female smokejumper, now retired. She referred to Michelle Obama’s method for handling down in the dirt political campaigning, “When they go low, we go high”. Ms. Shulman said her tactic when harassed by males was somewhat different, “When they go low, I go lower.” Then she laughed.

The IAWF deserves a commendation for working out the logistics, electronics, and timing on both continents. In a previous life one of my duties was to arrange two-hour conference calls with participants in the US, Europe, and Australia. Choosing a time often meant some participants had to call in early in the morning or late at night.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

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