Some consider fighting fires to be a man’s job, but as long ago as the bucket brigades of the 19th century, women have bravely played an important—if sometimes invisible—role in firefighting.
With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it became illegal for fire departments to prevent women from applying for jobs as firefighters. Women who came forward—including those featured in TAKING THE HEAT—struggled with ill-fitting equipment, derision from male colleagues and outcast status in the firehouse. In spite of these issues, women have continued to make great strides in the profession since the days of the bucket brigades.
According to Women in the Fire Service, as of 2005, there were approximately 6,160 women career firefighters in the United States and 28 fire departments with women as their top-level chief.
Track the history of women firefighters, from 1818 until today, and learn more about the pioneers of the profession.
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