The Stream

Raising the alarm on sexism in the firehouse

US female firefighters talk to The Stream.

US firefighter Nicole Mittendorf’s suicide in April brought national attention to sexism and harassment in firehouse culture. While the specific reasons for Mittendorf’s suicide is unknown, her death is being called a “fire bell in the night” after revelations she was the victim of online sexual harassment and bullying. Several women from the same fire department have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment, and it’s happening in other states, too. The firehouse has long been a challenging environment for women in a field dominated by men and defined by a culture that is part-paramilitary, part-fraternity, complete with initiation and hazing. Around four percent of firefighters in the US are female, making the profession one of the least diverse along gender lines. On Tuesday, we’ll talk to women who have chosen this profession, hear about the unique challenges they face, and ask if enough is being done to address sexism in the workplace. 

On this episode of The Stream, we’ll speak to:

Kishia Clemencia
Firefighter, DC Fire Department

Martha Ellis
Captain, Utah Fire Department

Laura Baker
Assistant Chief, Tucson Fire Department

Al Gillespie
Retired Fire Chief, North Las Vegas Fire Department

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