The New York City Fire Department is once again facing scrutiny over its low, low numbers of female firefighters. Those numbers could hardly be much worse: there are about 11,000 firefighters in the FDNY today, and just 37 of them are women, less than one half of one percent. The FDNY leadership says they're doing everything they can to recruit more women. But an organization of female firefighters, along with American Civil Liberties Union, say the FDNY is still promoting unfair testing practices designed to keep women out, and that hazing and harassment of female firefighters is still common.
Image via FDNY 2012 annual report. Ten percent of the FDNY's current female firefighters.
Brenda Berkman thinks this whole situation looks unpleasantly familiar. Berkman sued the FDNY for gender discrimination FDNY in the 1970s, leading to the department being ordered to hire women. At a hearing on Friday, December 13, she accused the FDNY of "repeating many of the same mistakes that led to its terrible record in the recruitment and hiring of women firefighters."More »