ChangeMAKERS: No Dream Is Off Limits

Before actively being recruited, Regina Wilson hadn't considered a career in firefighting. Once she realized how few women and people of color worked in the field, though, she found herself asking, "Why not me?" Angela Weiss/Getty Images for AOL

Shifting from corporate America to the New York Fire Department proved to be a major culture shock for Regina Wilson. Upon joining the force in 1999, she became the 12th African-American woman in the FDNY's history and now is the first female president of the Vulcan Society, the African-American fraternal organization founded in 1940 to combat racial discrimination among firefighters. In the final ChangeMAKERS installment, Cristen and Caroline learn about Wilson's battle against sexism and hostility -- one she wages in order to do the job she loves and bring other women and people of color along behind her.

Stats to Get You Fired Up:

America didn't get its first female career firefighter until 1974 when Judy Brewer of Arlington, Virginia, who was initially told fire department was "no place for a woman," got the job. (NPR)

Nationwide, women make up just 3.4 percent of the firefighting workforce. (National Fire Protection Association)

51 percent of paid fire departments in the largest metro regions have never hired a female firefighter. (Cornell University)

84 percent of female firefighters experience gender discrimination on the job. (International Journal of Diversity)

80 percent of female firefighters are issued ill-fitting equipment. (International Journal of Diversity)

Learn More About Regina Wilson and Her Work:

Be the Hero: Get to Know Regina Wilson's Story

MAKERS Minute: Regina Wilson

Vulcan Society

Learn More About MAKERS:

MAKERS video collection



Learn More About ChangeMAKERS:

Stuff Mom Never Told You is celebrating Women's History Month by spotlighting passionate, trailblazing ladies making history right now. Each Friday in March, we're releasing an installment of ChangeMAKERS to share the conversations and takeaways Cristen and Caroline gleaned from their trip to the MAKERS conference in February. The world's largest video collection of women's stories, MAKERS is is a women's leadership platform that highlights the stories of groundbreaking women today to create the leaders of tomorrow.

More Stuff Mom Never Told You About Firefighting:

Firefighting Women