Tyne M. Lunn, Cheryl Cameron, Sarah Logan, Becky Donelon
There is no quality in healthcare without equity (quintuple aim) which is interdependent between the paramedic and the patient. Quality care is underpinned by a fulsome understanding of the context of the entire community, how women, nonbinary, marginalized, Black or Brown, Indigenous, and other intersectional people experience health is different than what is considered the norm that centers abled cishetero-white males. This edition speaks to and from the perspectives of mostly privileged white women in paramedicine, who strive to contribute to transforming and advancing paramedicine to enable higher quality of care.
However efforts towards equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are not easy “checkbox” activities. EDI is awash with complexity and nuance that must be thoroughly assessed. Root causes for inequity must be explored and understood before applying meaningful and sustainable solutions. This means doing hard and often uncomfortable work and understanding that our learning never ends. We must recognize performative actions in the name of EDI are doing more harm than good, creating the illusion of progress and equity while systemic and structural oppression remains. Women in paramedicine continue to navigate cultural and social constructs that enable violence at its worst, and a continuum of barriers, non-inclusive experiences, and constant gaslighting as a minimum. From an independently commissioned human rights review in Australia to a class action lawsuit detailing decades of sexual harrassment here in Canada, it is apparent there is still so much work to be done.
Transformative change cannot happen in silo – all work we do happens in community, among others. Thus, transformative change requires allies. “I am an ally” is not a title you declare for yourself. Being identified as an ally is something earned by your consistent and ongoing efforts. Allyship is a verb, an action – it’s a role someone participates in, defined by actions where the ally is willing to put themselves on the line. We need more than allies. Canadian paramedicine needs co-conspirators; a co-conspiring collective (women, men, gender neutral, and nonbinary), who recognize and mobilize their privilege, such as reputation, time, resources, and power, who are willing to risk these assets to achieve equity and justice for someone else.
We invite you to listen to the voices of co-conspirators within these pages, and welcome you to join us as we work towards equitable and inclusive practices across all aspects of paramedicine.