Firefighting, Leadership, Training

Women in the Fire Service: A Diverse Culture Leads to a Successful Culture

Issue 4 and Volume 167.

BY DAVID R. HOLLENBACH III Throughout history, men have dominated many occupations because of cultural views and the division of labor determined by society’s needs. The stratification of the workforce by gender is applied by the culture of the society in which one is a member.1 Cross-culturally, many societies have excluded women from many of the same occupations. Military service, law enforcement, and firefighting have all been male-dominated occupations in many cultures. As women’s roles in society have changed, so too has their desire to serve in occupations from which they have previously been excluded, among them the fire service. Rich with deeply engrained traditions, the fire service culture has resisted change to varying degrees and for a variety of reasons. Many strategies have been used to increase the presence of women in the fire service, yet the numbers are still lower than in many other male-dominated fields because the…

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