Vancouver Fire Dept reviews efforts to address gender bias

first_imgAfter a 2016 investigation revealed gender bias and cultural problems within the Vancouver Fire Department, Chief Joe Molina had this to say:“We have to get better.”Now, 17 months later, the chief points to improvements made in the wake of the report:• Stations were changed in ways the chief says better accommodates men and women working together.• The department hosted 12 anti-harassment trainings for new recruits, supervisors and line staff.• Another woman has been hired as a firefighter, bringing the total to six. There are 176 firefighters in the Vancouver Fire Department.Still, the chief and at least one of the women acknowledge more needs to be done.“There is some progress with some of these issues, but it is extremely slow,” said a female firefighter who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity. “It is a fight to get what little change we have and we continue to meet resistance from the city to make these very basic accommodations.”The 2016 investigation pointed to systemic problems within the fire department’s culture that left women feeling unwelcome at best, and unsafe at worst in the male-dominated department.The most egregious findings in the report suggest ongoing hostility toward women in the department. One woman reported pornographic magazines left around the station. Another reported her male colleagues would watch explicit television in the station, flipping it off as soon as she entered the room. Another reported her male co-workers took bets on how long it would be before she had sex with a colleague.At Fire Station 5, the only woman assigned to the station was isolated by her co-workers and lied to about plans for the day so she missed group events.last_img

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