Fighting Fires and Fighting Gender Stereotypes


In a conversation with high school athletes at Santa Barbara High School in California, female firefighters encouraged young women to enter the public service career path. Specifically, the Montecito Fire Protection District suggested that women look into working on the firefighting force to increase female leadership in public safety. Firefighters from around the county came to discuss why they entered the field and how it has impacted their lives thus far. Many said that the job is rewarding and encourages them to work harder, but most women said that, despite the reward, the force is still only 4 percent female. When students asked about gender discrimination, the women assured them that they are not strangers to it. One firefighter regarded that men can be more critical of female firefighters, but that does not mean they give up on the career. They reflected that discrimination makes them work harder and improve their skills beyond their male counterparts’ expectations.


For Further Reading:

Read more about female firefighters’ fight for equality here.


Discussion Question:

What are some advantages of having female leaders in the public safety sector?


Action Item:

Donate to California firefighters keen on closing the gender gap by heading over to this link.



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