Enhancing Women’s Inclusion in Firefighting in the USA

By Denise M. Hulett, Marc Bendick Jr, Sheila Y. Thomas and Francine Moccio.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.189-208. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 716.622KB).

Denise M. Hulett

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

Denise Hulett is a staff attorney in the Racial Equality Program of the Legal Aid Society’s Employment Law Center in San Francisco, CA, USA. She was formerly Co-Director of the Employment Justice Research Center, where she directed the study reported in this article; director of national voting rights advocacy for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; and a lead attorney in Davis v. City and County of San Francisco, a lawsuit challenging hiring and promotional practices in the San Francisco Fire Department. She received her law degree from the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Marc Bendick Jr

Employment Economist, Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants, Washington, USA

Marc Bendick, Jr. (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin), is an economist with 30 years’ experience as a research and consultant specializing in employment. He is the author of more than 115 scholarly publications, including books, articles in refereed journals, and testimony before Congressional Committees. He has also been a consultant on workforce diversity management for some of the largest employers in the USA and a frequent expert witness in large class action employment discrimination lawsuits. He is a Co-Founder and Co-Principal in Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants, Inc., in Washington, DC USA, www.bendickegan.com.

Sheila Y. Thomas

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

Sheila Thomas is a plaintiffs’ employment attorney with her own practice in Oakland, California USA, where she litigates both class and individual gender and race employment discrimination. She was previously Director of Litigation at Equal Rights Advocates Inc., a San Francisco based legal women’s advocacy organization; a Skadden Fellow at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in Washington, DC; and a law clerk for a federal judge in Alabama. She is a graduate of Yale College and Georgetown University Law School.

Dr. Francine Moccio

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

Francine Moccio is Director of the Institute for Women and Work at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) of Cornell University, USA, www.ilr.cornell.edu/iww. She holds a doctorate in anthropology from the New School for Social Research. She has conducted research women and men in nontraditional jobs and delivered education to state legislators, employers, trade unionists, and women’s advocacy associations.


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