Don't call firefighters firemen - or else women won't join profession, says London Fire Brigade

Don't call firefighters firemen else women won't join profession, says London Fire Brigade

London Fire Brigade says the term fireman shouldn't be used (Stock image)

Monday, October 16, 2017

The London Fire Brigade chief has said firefighters should not be called firemen - because it discourages women from doing the job.

Dany Cotton made the announcement as part of a programme which aims to encourage more females to work for fire brigades, according to The Telegraph.

Cotton, the first-ever female commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, said: "The first woman firefighter joined London Fire Brigade in 1982 and it's ridiculous that 35 years later people are still surprised to see women firefighters or calling them firemen."

She said the capital city needs a "diverse selection of skills, strengths and specialisms to protect it" and both males and females can do this.  

The chief also said she wants to "shake off outdated language, which we know is stopping young girls and women from considering this rewarding and professional career."

She went on to stated the need to challenge "negative stereotypes" for the sake of future firefighters.

A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade also suggests research shows that there are many women who believe the job of a firefighter is for a man and it could be that the term fireman increases this belief.

Mayor Sadiq Khan also added: “Our firefighters do one of the most important jobs there is - helping to keep the rest of us safe - regardless of gender or background."

He also talked about the heroic response from the service after terror attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire, which "is only a small proportion of their tireless work to protect and support all of our communities.”

Home Office statistics revealed that in 2016 just 5% of firefighters in England were female. However that's a rise of more than a fifth since 2011. 

​Currently there are roughly 300 women working as firefighters for the London Fire Brigade.