When Janet Bier joined the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS), she was one of two women in her graduating class of 1993. At that time, there were roughly five other female firefighters at the City.
“We didn’t see a lot of each other and there were over 900 firefighters so it was a pretty small percentage,” said Bier, who is now the Director of Fire Prevention. “There was a strong pressure that you could prove yourself, and prove that you could be as strong as the others and capable.”
She said it meant a lot to her that the men she worked with respected her.
Bier hopes by being in a high ranking position, she can be a mentor to females within the WFPS.
“It is important for women to believe in themselves,” said Bier. “There has to be that heart belief that yes, you are capable of this job, you can do the job, you are good at it, and you are accepted.”
It is a feeling shared by Krista Boryskavich, the City Solicitor and Director of Legal Services. The majority of her department is female.
“We have an exclusively female compliment of legal assistants and our lawyers are probably three quarters female as well so that is really exciting,” she said.
Boryskavich has also noticed increased female representation at the senior management table.
“I think that is absolutely a positive thing,” she said. “We worked hard as women in senior leadership positions to ensure we put a framework in place for really supporting each other.”
She credits her colleagues, both male and female, for helping create an environment for women to succeed in.
“I am very grateful for the culture here that has allowed us to do that,” said Boryskavich.
Celebrating City employees