Report: Nation's Firefighting Ranks Are 96 Percent Male

Fewer than 4 percent of the nation's firefighters are women, and more than half of paid fire departments have never hired a female firefighter, finds a new report issued by Cornell's Institute for Women and Work in the ILR School in partnership with several co-authors.

"The under representation of women in firefighting is an alarming inequity that needs to be immediately addressed," said Francine Moccio, director of the institute and co-author of the report, "A National Report Card on Women in Firefighting," which was presented at the International Association of Women in Fire and Emergency Services meeting April 24 in Phoenix. "Women are not getting recruited and hired because of an occupational culture that is exclusionary and unequal employment practices in recruiting, hiring, assigning, and promoting women generally--and women of color in particular--in fire service."

Working with two civil rights lawyers and an economist specializing in employment and human resource management, Moccio and the research team analyzed surveys from 675 firefighters from 114 departments in 48 states and interviewed 175 female firefighters in depth. The researchers said that despite more than 20 years of legislative reform and litigation, women are simply not being hired. When women are hired, the study found that 85 percent interviewed reported they were treated differently, 80 percent said they were issued ill-fitting equipment, 37 percent reported that their gender creates barriers to career advancement, 50 percent felt shunned or socially isolated, and 37 percent were verbally harassed.

"This landmark study shows that more than half (51.2 percent) of the nation's largest metropolitan regions still have no paid female firefighters," Moccio said.

Marc Bendick, an economist and co-author, said, "The New York City Fire Department receives one of the lowest grades, with fewer than 0.25 percent women firefighters." That compares with the top 10 percent of firehouses (29 departments) with the most women, where women comprise, on average, 14.5 percent of firefighters. Locations with the highest percentage of women are Tuscaloosa, Ala. (24 percent); Kalamazoo, Mich. (almost 23 percent); Springfield, Ill. (19 percent); Racine, Wis. (almost 18 percent); and Redding, Calif. (17 percent).

The report highlights ways in which fire departments across the country can develop and reward best practices that address these issues and promote inclusion. The report's other co-authors are civil rights attorneys Denise Hulett of the Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center in San Francisco, and Sheila Y. Thomas. The study, which was supported by the Ford Foundation, will be presented at the Eighth International Conference on the Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, June 17-20, in Montréal. For the full report, go to www.i-women.org.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Everything You Need to Know about Incident investigations

    Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
Bulwark CP

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2020

    October 2020

    Featuring:

    • FACILITY SECURITY
      EHS Compliance: Make it Personal
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      Choosing the Right Safety Shoe for Your Industry
    • HAND PROTECTION
      A Requirements Checklists for Work Safety Gloves
    • COVID-19 MANAGEMENT
      Contemporary Issues in HSE Management
    View This Issue