Oak Bay High held a Take Your Kids To Work Day for Grade 9 English students. The program is designed for students to be able to observe a work place and gain an appreciation and understanding for the work.
Sergeant Todd Preston, of RCMP Island District, wanted Take Your Kids To Work Day to be an empowering experience for his daughter Julia Preston.
Preston brought his daughter and three other girls to the RCMP HQ in Victoria and then to the West Shore RCMP detachment to introduce them to inspiring role models within the RCMP. The students met with Staff Sgt. Major Kathy Rochlitz and spoke about many things including the history of the RCMP and what it is like to be a high-ranking female member.
“For me, the opportunity to meet with the girls was awesome,” says Rochlitz. “I’m a mom. I have a daughter. I think it is really important that we all share our experiences with girls of any age to show them what opportunities are out there.”
In Canada, of all employed women, 67 per cent are working in the traditionally “female” occupations of teaching, nursing and related health occupations, clerical or other administrative positions, or sales and service occupations. This compared with 31 per cent of employed men. A recent Statistics Canada report cites this as one of the reasons that contributes to women earning 87 cents for every dollar earned by a man. In the private sector, women make up just 25.6 per cent of senior managers.
Studies have shown that broadening the representation of women in different fields has been found to have a positive effect on the numbers of women pursuing those subjects. Other studies have concluded that there is a strong correlation between women with role models and women with leadership goals.
“The girls were really interested in what my career was made up of and the experiences that I have had. Whether they choose a career like this or not but just to know that when you set your mind to something you can do anything of your choosing,” says Rochlitz. “I was asked ‘what’s it like being a female in such a high ranking positon?’ and it’s funny because you go about your own thing on a daily basis and you kind of forget the impact you can have on others.”
The students also went to the Forensic Identification Unit where they worked with Cpl Marie-Ann Davidson. They learned about forensics and they had the opportunity to dust, lift and examine old exhibits using a high tech laser.
RCMP Crime Analyst Shawna Meleski went over the role of a crime analyst with the students and explained how she had been able to greatly assist in solving past homicide files.
At the West Shore Detachment, the girls met with three female members from the Major Crime Unit and spoke about the dangers of social media. They also got a taste of being behind bars and getting mug shots.
The tour ended at the RCMP dispatch (telecomms) where the students were partnered up with a telecomms operator and listened to a few minor calls as they were reported.
“I think it is a great opportunity for young people to know that they can come and they can learn and experience different things,” says Rochlitz.
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