Today is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, as well as marking a call to action for accelerating gender parity. International Women’s Day has occurred for well over a century, with the first gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people.

With 77% of Magpas Air Ambulance’s non-clinical workforce being female, it’s no surprise the local charity—which saves lives 24/7 in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and across the East of England—is joining in the celebrations once again.

Female representation is noticeable across the charity—from the trustees; to half of the senior leadership team; to the majority of the support staff who help raise the £6 million needed to keep the lifesaving service running every year, providing marketing, finance, governance and HR support to the service.

Magpas Air Ambulance is also always striving to encourage and support women in Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM), too. As the oldest emergency medical charity of its kind in the UK, since its inception in 1971, women have been a crucial part of the service and have been saving lives for over 50 years. Not only did female doctors form part of the revolutionary force in Cambridgeshire which responded to emergency calls in their own cars—some of whom are still involved in the charity today—it was also retired nurse Jean Drake who ran the first control room for the charity, taking the calls and dispatching available doctors when every second counted. Women have, and continue to be, vital to Magpas Air Ambulance’s frontline service.

Someone who’s witnessed the service progress and support women receive in their PHEM training journeys is Magpas Air Ambulance Doctor Anne Booth. Anne joined the charity over 20 years ago as a volunteer, and is now one of Magpas Air Ambulance’s most senior consultant doctors, supervising other clinicians who choose to follow the same career path, as well as providing patients with the very best lifesaving medical care as part of the Magpas Air Ambulance duty team. Anne also works as one of the few extremely experienced doctors who man the charity’s Duty Advice Doctor phone (being on hand at any time of the day or night to provide the medical team on shift with clinical support and advice should they ever need it), and has been a trustee for Magpas Air Ambulance since 2012.

Discussing women in PHEM, Anne explains “When I first started 20+ years ago, there were hardly any women in PHEM. I think it was seen as a job that women couldn’t do, but women can do whatever they like!

“What’s actually important in this role is that a team has different skills and that’s one of the brilliant things about Magpas Air Ambulance—this charity is very team orientated and we have an awesome team of people who all work together to do what’s best for our patients.”

In the last year alone, Magpas Air Ambulance has only continued to grow the number of female clinicians at the service. Of all new doctors and critical care paramedics who have joined in the last 12 months, 50% were women.

Natalie Church, Magpas Air Ambulance Director of Operations, adds “Our service values the knowledge and strengths of everyone in it, and that’s why we have such a strong culture of sharing, learning and pushing each other to achieve the most they can. I’m proud to play my part leading a charity that is so committed to providing equality of opportunity in the workplace and aims to create an environment where everyone can be the best they can be. We will never stop supporting women in PHEM, and all the women within this organisation (every one of us!) do our bit to provide the region with the very best care, save lives and keep families together.”