Ambassador Q&A: Jeff Harper
White Ribbon Ambassador Jeff Harper has been a driving force behind establishing a White Ribbon event within the emergency services calendar. Read about how he grew into his role as a White Ribbon Ambassador and what he hopes to achieve in his position in the future.
What is your day job?
I am the Regional Chief of the Tasmanian Fire Service.
How long have you been a White Ribbon Ambassador?
Why did you decide to become an Ambassador?
After attending an information session the themes resonated strongly with me and as a father of an 18 year old daughter (at the time) and working in a male dominated work place I felt that this was something I could contribute to in a positive way, even if it was just within my immediate work group.
In what ways have you been involved in the White Ribbon Campaign?
I started softly with participation at public events. My position within the Fire Service allowed me to also release some fire fighters to also attend and participate in the activities.
In the last couple of years, I have established a “Brunch in the Bays” event where the local brigade in Launceston host a brunch in the fire station bays among the trucks. This has progressed to be a pre event to other White Ribbon Day events that are organized by our ambassador group in Northern Tasmania. The “Brunch in the Bays” event has invited other emergency service partners and this year included the migrant education group from the local adult education program. Subsequently it now sits as a permanent part of the curriculum to not only assist in raising their awareness with regards to violence against women but it also has helped break down the barriers of perception held by some of these communities toward those of us that wear uniforms.
Our group has held events on White Ribbon Day but in July 2015 we held a “Breakfast with the Premier” for the first time and will again host another themed event this year.
I am currently on the steering committee for the Department of Police and Emergency Management in Tasmania as it under takes the White Ribbon workplace accreditation program
Why is Gender Equality important to you as an Ambassador?
As a White Ribbon Ambassador, I believe that while men and women will never be the same they can and should be equal and should have the right to achieve their potential without being blocked, pigeon holed, intimidated, harassed or exploited.
As a father of a daughter I want her to have every opportunity to achieve her best without bias and be seen as an equal by her peers.
All women should have the opportunity to explore their passions and be engaged with as an equal. All topics should have a level of diversity of views to them and without both male and female perception then a topic isn’t complete.
With gender equality comes gender respect. With gender respect comes a better understanding of one another which will lead to a reduction in gender violence, in particular violence against women.
What goals do you hope to accomplish as an Ambassador in the future?
- To influence how women are perceived in the workplace, build respect for women in the workplace so they are able to feel safe and have the same opportunities as anyone else.
- Provide a conduit to assist the education of migrants in how women should be treated and respected in our culture.
- To have men speak up against disrespectful or violent behaviours towards women and to have them model the behaviours we want our sons to have towards others.
- To continue to grow our ambassador group and its events in Launceston.