Last week, United Hatzalah dedicated an ambulance to specifically treat women. The ambulance will be operated by a crew of female volunteer EMTs and paramedics and will respond to any type of medical emergency, but will prioritize responding to incidents in which there are female patients. The idea came to fruition following the growth and success of our women’s unit, which now numbers close to 100 volunteer responders spread across metropolitan areas in Israel. The issue of women helping women isn’t a religious issue, it’s a humanitarian one.It is no secret that many women are more comfortable being treated by other women rather than by men. While this may not be true for all women, for many it is, as they feel better understood by a female caregiver, especially when dealing with gynecological emergencies. However, the ratio of women to men in the field of EMS is very small. According to a recent study done by Ohio State University, only 23% of paramedics are female while 35% of EMTs are female. In Israel, the percentages of female EMTs and paramedics are even smaller. That is one of the reasons United Hatzalah started the women’s unit, to encourage more women, both secular and religious, to join the organization and become EMS volunteers.In the past two years since the unit has been open, close to 100 women have joined, and the ratio in United Hatzalah itself rose by 3%. We still have a long way to go, and we are far better off than the various Hatzalah organizations around the globe that don’t accept women at all. In United Hatzalah, the women are accepted right alongside their male counterparts at the scene of any medical emergency. We have women who are EMTs, paramedics and doctors who volunteer their time and are a major part of the development of our organization.The women’s unit specifically encourages, although it is not exclusive to, increasing the number of women who volunteer in ultra-Orthodox and Muslim communities in ways that are acceptable to all, so the women can be respected in the field just as much as their male peers.Recognizing a need for more expert assistance with cases of emergency home births, United Hatzalah also began a midwives unit that dispatches trained midwives to respond to home births and other pregnancy-related emergencies. The unit was founded after Dr. Aryeh Yaffe, an OB-GYN in Shaare Zedek Medical Center, who recognized that there was a need for added expertise in home births where any type of complication was experienced.Women also form an integral part of the organization’s Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit as well as the Ten Kavod project. Both of these projects have come to make a large impact on communities around Israel, and the women who volunteer in these units excel at what they do. Without the women who inspired these initiatives and work tirelessly to maintain them, these projects that add so much to the makeup of first response and continuing care for patients simply wouldn’t exist.I see the participation of women in the world of EMS as not only necessary, but crucial to its success. We cannot sideline half of the population from one of the most important fields of emergency services. Not only would we be doing our patients a disservice, we would be missing out on so many opportunities for growth that women bring to the table. The creativity and drive that the women who volunteer with United Hatzalah have is something that has made me truly proud. It is my hope that the ranks of the women who volunteer with the organization will continue to grow exponentially across the country, with each new volunteer bringing their own unique addition to our national network of lifesavers.The writer is the father of five children, a social entrepreneur, and president and founder of United Hatzalah of Israel, an independent, non-profit, fully volunteer EMS organization that provides fast and free emergency first response throughout Israel.