UNSOM woman firefighter attends skills training course in Britain
UNSOM’s Sunita Sharma attended a three-day networking event for women in fire service roles, held at the United Kingdom’s Fire Service College at Moreton in Marsh Gloucestershire. The event, allows women involved in all aspects of a fire service to come together and have some opportunities to experience different parts of the fire service activity. The event at the Fire Service College brought together more than 200 women of which around 160 are operational fire officers, to share their experiences and promote gender mainstreaming in a profession that is normally viewed as a preserve for men. This year some of the workshops available focused on different skill areas that included women and leadership, fire investigation, trauma, incident command, and urban search and rescue.
Sunita served as a police officer for 14 years before joining UN peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Sudan. She then changed careers, resigning as a police officer to join the United Nations as an internationally recruited Security Officer. Sunita previously served in the MONUSCO Mission before joining UNSOM. While performing her role within the UNSOM Missions Security structure, Sunita, alongside other colleagues, has taken the opportunity to train in fire fighting and formed part of the volunteer reserve for Mission fire response.
“I like challenging jobs. Working in security and safety is rewarding and a different experience,” says Sunita, currently on a temporary assignment as Safety and Security Occupational Group Manager in New York. Though UNSOM does not currently have a female Fire Safety Officer, Sunita encourages her fellow course participants to apply for vacancies that arise in UN peacekeeping missions.
“There’s no more a man-dominated world. Women are a significant presence in these non-traditional careers,” Sunita adds, noting that the gender gap is closing in professions like information technology and engineering.
The participation in these sorts of events is part of the United Nations Secretary-General’s commitment to increase women’s participation in peace and security work to achieve gender parity within the international organization. UNSOM looks forward to involvement in next year’s event.