“Not fit enough. Not strong enough. Not brave enough.”
These are just three of the myths around women in the fire service that South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has set out to bust as part of its latest International Women’s Day campaign.
With a brand new video launched today, Monday 8 March, the service is looking to celebrate its current group of female firefighters, control operators and support staff.
It’s also trying to encourage and empower women who have previously considered a role within the fire service but been put off by traditional stereotypes.
This comes ahead of a round of full-time firefighter recruitment process that will be opening up, for budding firefighters across South Yorkshire, this summer.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again but, whilst I’m proud of how far we’ve come in recent years, there is still a long way to go to fully dispel the long-standing myth that firefighting is a job for men,” said South Yorkshire’s Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson.
“This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), and the Choose To Challenge theme, provides us with the perfect opportunity to do that. We want to make it totally clear that women are fit enough, strong enough and brave enough to do this job.
“We’ve been doing it for years already and we’re here to stay. The fantastic women within my service, a small handful of which are featured in our video and up-coming podcast, are living and breathing examples of that.
“So if you’re a woman who has long considered applying for a career in the fire service, but perhaps needed a little nudge, then consider this that nudge. As South Yorkshire’s Chief Fire Officer, with 30 years’ service, I’ve done it, and so can you.”
As well as launching its new video, the service is set to release a special IWD episode of its podcast series, Shout, later this week.
The ‘pod’ features Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson, Watch Managers Kirsty Wright and Caz Whiteman and Firefighter Helena Rooke.
Following the same ‘Choose To Challenge’ theme, the feature length episode sees the group breaking down old stereotypes and sharing their career experiences to date.
It’s hoped that the service’s latest show of support for International Women’s Day will boost the number of women registering their interest in fire service careers.
This can be done here via the service’s website – with those who register their interest in firefighting jobs the first to know about any future recruitment.
Last year, the service saw a huge increase in registrations from the LGBT+ community after hitting back at trolls on social media.
Prior to that, previous campaigns around International Women’s Day and Black History Month saw a big increase in female and BME registrations respectively.