In the Equality Act 2010, sex can mean either male or female.
Female Firefighters have been largely underrepresented for many years, 2019 saw the largest % increase in female firefighters since 2009, that has not been due to the reduction in male firefighters (often as a result of retirement or finding other work). In 2019 6.4% of firefighters across the UK were female, this is almost double the 3.6% recorded in 2009 (NFCC, 2019), but it is still not anywhere near reflecting the population.
The Gender profile differs across the service and over 50% of our corporate workforce are female, there is also a strong female presence in the more senior roles amongst the corporate workforce demonstrating the opportunities of progression for all. Control is another area of the Service that is dominated by females with around 80% of this group being Female. However, when we look at the operational aspect of our workforce we are, like the rest of the UK, underrepresented by females with only 4% of our On Call Firefighters being female and a slightly higher proportion at 7% for our Wholetime Firefighters. We are very keen to improve this and remove some of the myths that are known to detract women from considering the role. We are working hard within our communities to change perceptions and encourage both Men and Women to apply for all of our opportunities, especially into the roles where one sex dominates the workgroup. We continue to share our #BeOneOfUs Campaign in a bid to break down some of the perceived barriers.
DWFRS uses our social media accounts to promote opportunities within the Service, sharing experiences from those in the workforce, we have recently hosted a live Q&A sessions on Facebook and have also shared personal profiles on some of our firefighters who are talking about their experience of the service. These activities are all used to not only provide information out to the broader public, but also to help move forwards in breaking down the barriers and perceptions that many women in particular believe to be in place.