Women make up under 5% of firefighters in Wiltshire

Women make up under 5% of firefighters in Wiltshire

Published by Mike Draper at 4:20am 7th March 2020.

4 minute read

With International Women's Day approaching, Fire & Rescue services are being urged to challenge "age-old stereotypes".

Women make up less than 5% of frontline firefighters in Dorset and Wiltshire, and they were better represented five years ago, according to new figures.

The latest Home Office data has revealed that in 2019:

  • There were 46 on-call and full-time female firefighters in the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • That compares to 958 men


Tomorrow is International Women's Day 2020 (Sunday 8 March). The theme for this year is 'I am Generation Equality'.

Firefighting remains a male-dominated profession, and volunteer-led organisation 'Women in the Fire Service UK' says despite an increasing number of female firefighters signifying a "huge cultural shift," further education is vital to promote firefighting as a career for all genders.

  • In 2018-19, 10 women joined the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service as firefighters, compared to 88 men


It's time for you to meet 29 year old Firefighter Mags.

Here's her story:

"My name is Magdalena, but everyone calls me Mags. I am 29 and from Poland. I have 2 daughters aged 7 & 4 and my husband is in the Armed Forces. I'm an on-call firefighter at Ludgershall but my normal day to day job is as a housekeeping supervisor and although I do enjoy it, I have always been a more active and challenge driven person having grown up on a farm."

"I love to keep fit and do CrossFit in my spare time. I became an on-call firefighter because as my kids got more independent, I found myself wanting to be more challenged in my day to day life and not just in the gym. As soon as I had a taste of what it was all about, I was hooked."

"The job is highly demanding whether it's a road traffic collision, a fire or even the weekly training drills I come home satisfied and sometimes exhausted. I love the sense of pride I get every time I put on the uniform, not only helping people but inspiring young children during our local school visits. Doing my bit for the community and feeling energised every time the pager goes off. It's amazing to be part of such a great team in our community and it is one of the best decisions I've ever made."

A spokesperson for the National Fire Chiefs Council said:

"There is much still to do with regard to recruitment across the fire service, however statistics do show that the number of new female firefighters is on the increase. It goes to show we are increasing diversity and services are therefore recruiting from all sections of society and attracting the best talent. This is a clear indicator that people see the role of a firefighter as a job for all."

A Home Office spokesperson said it is working with fire and rescue authorities to "ensure they are recruiting from the broadest possible talent pool."

The Home Office and National Fire Chiefs Council have launched a national awareness campaign to encourage people from all backgrounds to consider a role in the fire sector.

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