Firefighting Women

© Jeremy Woodhouse/Holly Wilmeth/Blend Images/Corbis

Although women have served as volunteer firefighters since the 19th century, putting out fires for a living is one of the hardest careers for women to pursue today. Caroline and Cristen turn up the heat on the history of women firefighters and why gender discrimination still persists in many fire departments.

Episode sources:


"5 Settle Gender Bias Suit Against Fire Department" by Joseph Goldstein. June 14, 2013. The New York Times.

"Taking the Heat -- The First Women Firefighters of New York City" by Independent Lens. PBS.

"Women Firefighters -- The Gender Boondoggle." Jan. 24, 2008. LA Weekly.

"Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity." 2011. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Firefighter Factsheet." July 2013. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Female Firefighters Win Discrimination Suit" by Tony Saavedra. Aug. 16, 2013. Orange County Register.

"Women at Ground Zero -- Stories of Courage and Compassion" by Susan Hagen and Mary Carouba.

"The Dilemma of Being a Woman Firefighter, Pt. 1" by John K. Murphy. Sept. 19, 2013. Fire Engineering.

"Brenda Berkman, Fire NYC Female Firefighter." MAKERS.

"Twelve Amazing Firefighters." Firefighter's ABCs.

"Firefighters -- Breaking Down Doors at the FDNY." 2012. Sisters in Brotherhoods.

"4 percent of U.S. firefighters women." May 12, 2008. United Press International.

"History of Women in Firefighting." 2007. International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services.

"Women Firefighters in New York City 1982 - 2012." Labor Arts.

"A Woman Among Men -- Female Firefighter Blazed A Trail" by NPR Staff. July 21, 2013. NPR.

Academic Insights:

"'Outsider Within' the Firehouse -- African American and White Women Firefighters" by Janice D. Yoder and Lynne L. Berendsen. Jan. 10, 2003. Psychology of Women Quarterly.

"The health women in the US fire service" by SA Jahnke et al. Oct. 31, 2012. BMC Women's Health.

"Gender differences in firefighter job stressors and symptoms of stress" by SA Murphy et al. 1994. Women Health.

"When pranks become harassment -- The case of African-American women firefighters" by Janice D. Yoder and Patricia Aniakudo. September 1996. Sex Roles.

"The responses of African American women firefighters to gender harassment at work" by by Janice D. Yoder and Patricia Aniakudo. February 1995. Sex Roles.

Topics in this Podcast: jobs, gender discrimination, firefighters, best of 2014 workplace, career, trailblazers, women in the workplace