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North West Territories/Ottawa, May 20 (Canadian-Media): Heather MacKenzie, a female employee of a mining company in the Northwest Territories (N.T.), aims to participate with an all-female mine rescue team in International Mines Rescue Competition Russia (IMRCR), later this year, media reports said.
International Mines Rescue Competition Russia. Image credit: Twitter handle of WSN
Currently, MacKenzie is training for a territorial competition with her company, which will help her prepare for the international competition in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
"I've always been a competitor," said MacKenzie.
The week-long competition includes many different events from firefighting to first aid and a rescue simulation.
“The fact that we're putting together this team, we're ensuring that this competition will have double the amount of women that were at the last international [competition]," said MacKenzie.
"It's often seen as a position that women don't generally hold," she said.
About $84,000 was needed by the team to participate in the international competition to cover travel, accommodations and equipment, as well as the cost of a training session for the women to participate in this August, to prepare for the international competition.
Some companies have given them in-kind donations, leaving them with about $37,000 to raise.
Typically the company a participant works for would cover the cost of the competition and send a team.
But in the case of Diamonds in the Rough, the participants don't work for the same company.
Kari Lentowicz, the co-founder and coach of Diamonds in the Rough said she asked all the participants' employers to provide them with funding but to no avail.
But some of the women on the team, she said, were so dedicated that they were willing to take vacation or unpaid days off work and pay for the trip themselves.
Lentowicz based in Saskatchewan, Canada, had dreamed of putting an all-women team together since 2007, said that it was too bad because there were a lot of women who will suffer a financial hardship in order to do this and added,
"We need to increase diversity in these roles, in emergency response.”
She was a judge at the 2016 International Mines Rescue Competition in Sudbury, Ont., and said five of the 189 participants were women.
She said there have been many cases where women were perceived as not strong enough to be on the mines rescue teams. But she disagreed with that.
"We're definitely strong enough," said Lentowicz.
The competition runs from September 22-29.