Women in Fire and Emergency Leadership Roles: How can we improve the balance?

Author:

Parkinson, D., Duncan, A., & Hedger, E.

Editor:

First

Date:

2016

Region:

Oceania

Theme:

Gender and Wildfire

Language:

English

Publisher:

Gender and Disaster Pod

Full Harvard Reference:

Parkinson, D., Duncan, A., & Hedger, E. (2016). Women in Fire and Emergency Leadership Roles: How can we improve the balance? Vol. 2. A Research Report commissioned by the DELWP. (See also Vol. 1)

This report addresses the present and perceived barriers that women in fire and emergency management leadership roles face in Victoria, Australia. In 2014, only 28% of employees associated with Networked Emergency Organisations (NEO) in fire and emergency roles were women, with even fewer holding leadership roles. In an attempt to gain an understanding on this gender disparity, the authors conducted a quantitative online survey in addition to 19 semi-structured interviews and a focus group. Findings identified that sexism and discrimination against women in leadership roles remains rife across many emergency related organisations. Women also appeared to face barriers in access to training due to the male domination of meetings and the stereotyping of women’s abilities, leading to women in senior roles becoming overlooked. Women also expressed that ‘gender’ is often blamed when mistakes are made by women in charge.