As of 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that a whopping 5.7% of firefighters are women. Chances are, there aren’t a large number of women hanging out in your local firehouse. Cheryl Horvath, division chief at the Northwest Fire District in Arizona, writes about the depressingly high number of harassment lawsuits that have been filed by female firefighters against male squad members for offenses that include being locked out of the women’s locker room, being judged ineffective for asking clarifying questions, and being forced to share women’s quarters with men who have decided to take over the space.
Despite these discouraging circumstances, there are women who are thriving in certain districts, such as the Baltimore County Fire Department, where Angela Hughes reports that 200 (or 20%) of the 1000 firefighters are women. However, Hughes, a career firefighter, is concerned that there aren’t sufficient recruiting efforts for women. There’s also the inspiring figure of Claire Burley, a firefighter in Arlington County, Virginia. There is even a fire fighting camp for girls in Arlington aimed at recruiting future female firefighters. Hence the inclusion of firefighter as one of the careers women should consider entering into, if only because you’ll know you’re doing an important job for your community, as well as for little girls who may be interested in fighting fires themselves, one day.