WOMEN POWER: Queensland Fire Emergency Services senior firefighter Kristal Johnston was the first female firefighter in central Queensland.
WOMEN POWER: Queensland Fire Emergency Services senior firefighter Kristal Johnston was the first female firefighter in central Queensland. Emily Pidgeon.

Only one woman works this job in all of Gladstone

IT MAY be 2017 but gender equality still has a long way to go.

Queensland Fire Emergency Services senior firefighter Kristal Johnston said she was the first full time female firefighter in central Queensland.

That was 12 years ago.

Today, she is one of two full-time female firefighters in the region and the only one in Gladstone.

"I think we've always had trouble in regional areas," Ms Johnston said.

"Women in this area haven't grown up seeing other female firefighters and it's hard to be something you can't see ... it's foreign to women."

Starting her career more than a decade ago, Ms Johnston said it was not something she thought of doing until it was recommended to her.

Often seen as a masculine job, Ms Johnston said there was nothing she couldn't do that men could.

"It's not a career many women think they can do ... they fear that it's more masculine and you have to be crazy fit and crazy strong to do it," she said.

"Women can do it just as well."

Ms Johnston said when she first started she was treated differently.

"There were deep routed mindsets that women couldn't do the job but obviously we're starting to disprove the myths," she said. "The sky's the limit for women out there."

Ms Johnston said women interested could apply online at qfes.qld.gov.au

Read more on International Women's Day on pages 19-21.



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