Diane Issard
“The first aid field should be proactive when it comes to women's inclusion”
Diane Issard is a passionate humanitarian who joined the French Red Cross 21 years ago, thanks to a job opportunity. For the last 10 years she has worked as the manager of the IFRC Global First Aid Reference Centre.
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Diane Issard

“After studying business, I could not imagine that I would work in the humanitarian field, but from the very beginning, I felt very involved in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. No matter how my professional future will evolve, I will always cherish the feeling of being part of this big family.

I have worked as the manager of the IFRC Global First Aid Reference Centre for 10 years. The Centre’s main goal is to support the learning and knowledge-sharing of first aid practitioners worldwide and I feel that this goal engages me on a personal level. Initially, the Centre only focused its work on Europe - now it has a global perspective. I am very proud to have contributed to its expansion and change of scope. I am so lucky to work with people and first aid experts from all over the world: I definitely feel very special and enriched by experiencing various cultures and walks of lives.

Working in the humanitarian field, is not always a bed of roses. In difficult times, I think of my contribution and the National Societies’ gratitude. To be able to provide direct support to first aid colleagues in their mission and helping them in challenging situations is the most rewarding part of my work. Subsequently, I play a role in saving lives, making communities more resilient through first aid. This brings me tremendous satisfaction; I feel proud that my job contributes to a better world.

Although changes are happening in the RC RC Movement, I feel more women should be in senior decision-making positions, with equal pay as men. I see the “woman touch” as a plus. In my job, I am grateful that I have met wonderful women who have contributed to what I am today. In whatever field, I think that having a fair balance between men and women in the workforce and leadership is a good formula for success, men and women bring different skills and are complementary.”

“I will continue to advocate for more women to join us in first aid activities. Women should and can play an active and vital role to build more resilient communities and save lives.”

– Diane Issard, IFRC

“Unfortunately, in the first aid world, there are not enough women for several reasons. There are fewer women first aid volunteers: having a volunteer activity takes time and most of the time, women are the ones taking care of their family. Moreover, in some countries women still have to ask for their husband or father’s permission before they can become a first aid trainer or first aid volunteer; this is a huge barrier for women’s involvement in first aid.

I want to see changes and do my best to promote women’s access to different positions in the project framework that I manage. For example, I aim to have an equal number of men and women in different levels of first aid trainings, despite that there is a low number of female applicants for the reasons given above. I have also experienced is that some participants consider women first aid trainer’s knowledge less valuable. This is something that highly concerns me.   I believe that every colleague in the first aid field should be proactive when it comes to women’s inclusion.

Nevertheless, I find it encouraging that the IFRC has programs specifically organized for women; they hold key roles in their community and their family. Positive involvement of women is also empowering.

I will continue to advocate for more women to join us in first aid activities. Women should and can play an active and vital role to build more resilient communities and save lives.”

Diane Issard

IFRC, 2001

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Did you know...

When women are included, peace negotiations are 35% more likely to succeed.

– Council of Foreign Relations (CFR)

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