Enhancing Women's Inclusion in Firefighting in the USA

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Of paid firefighters in the USA, 3.7% are women, compared to an expected representation of at least 17.0%. Although low female employment in this attractive career is often attributed to the job’s physical demands, its fundamental cause is an occupational culture excluding many race and gender groups. This culture is the underlying problem, of which women’s under-hiring, “glass ceiling,” occupational segregation, lack of accommodation, social isolation, and sexual harassment are symptoms. Our surveys of firefighters and fire departments identify best practices for addressing such issues. However, for permanent change, these practices must be encompassed within development of an inclusive workplace culture.


Keywords: Gender Discrimination, Non-traditional Occupations, Workforce Diversity, Systemic Barriers to Inclusion, Stereotypes
Stream: Organisations
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Enhancing Women’s Inclusion in Firefighting in the USA


Denise M. Hulett

Attorney, Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center
San Francisco, CA, USA


Dr. Marc Bendick Jr

Employment Economist, Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants, Inc.
Washington, DC, USA

Marc Bendick, Jr. (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin) is a Washington-based economist with 30 years’ experience as a researcher and consultant specializing in employment. He is the author of more than 110 scholarly publications, including books, articles in refereed journals, and testimony before Congressional committees. He has also been a consultant on workforce diversity management to some of the nation’s most prominent employers and a frequent expert witness in large class action employment discrimination litigation. Since 1984, Marc has been a Principal in Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants, Inc., 4411 Westover Place, NW, Washington, DC 20016, (202) 686-0245, bendickegan@mindspring.com. His resume and publications are available at www.bendickegan.com.

Sheila Y. Thomas

Attorney, Law Offices of Sheila Y. Thomas
Oakland, CA, USA


Dr. Francine Moccio

Director, Institute for Women and Work, Cornell University
New York, NY, USA


Ref: D08P0362