The London Fire Brigade chief has spoken out about the abuse she received after calling on the public to use the term 'firefighters' rather than 'firemen'.
However, the woman who is the first ever female Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade says she's been truly shocked by "the vitriol, the spite, the unpleasantness" that has been aimed at her.
Cotton spoke at an event organised by the Young Women's Trust and revealed "for a little while it made me want to back off and hide in a cave because it was shocking. I had letters of hate written to me at work.”
The firefighter particularly received abuse over her suggestions for Fireman Sam, as she claimed he should be called Firefighter Sam. She said, “I have nothing against him. I don’t want to kill him," but added, "I just want him to join us and call himself a firefighter."
She also revealed that introducing quotas for women working in industries usually dominated by men can create its own problems, as every time she had been given a promotion, men had claimed she only got the job "because I’m the only woman on the panel."
Cotton claimed this included her current role which she described as "quite bizarre, really".
During the event Cotton called on women to "stop apologising" for wanting equality, "because it isn’t something we need to apologise about."