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Young girls from across the city got a firsthand look at what its like to work for the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service today. 

The event, held by the WFPS and the Government of Manitoba’s Status of Women Secretariat, coincides with International Day of the Girl and took place at four stations in the city. 

"We know for girls to achieve their full destiny they need to be able to envision and dream of a future that involves many opportunities," provincial minister responsible for the status of women Rochelle Squires said. "We want girls to explore this and look at a career choice that might not be readily apparent to them." 

Squires says the girls who took part in the event are at an age where they are really starting to think about things that interest them and those things can lead to careers. 

She says it's important to encourage them at this stage of their development. 

"We know that this is a profession that women are underrepresented in," Squires said. "We want to break those barriers and obstacles and expose them to this when they start to imagine what their career possibilities will be." 

"We want these girls to go through this today and say 'I can do whatever I want and there is no career choice that is off limits to me because of my gender.'" 

WFPS chief John Lane says right now in Winnipeg 5.5 per cent of fire fighters are women and 35 per cent of paramedics are women. 

He admits those numbers are not ideal, but adds the WFPS encourages women to apply and will continue to work towards gender balance. 

"It's not reflective of our 50-50 split in society but it is getting better," Lane said. "When I started there were very few women but now it's becoming a normal thing to see women arrive at your home during a fire or a medical situation." 

"It's important to break down notions about emergency service careers and this is the perfect time as these girls think about what the future holds for them," he continued. "This is something that is very possible for them and hopefully we can show them how rewarding it can be as well." 

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