REDRAW THE BALANCE
A special firefighter sent me this article about a young girl who wanted to be a firefighter for Halloween.
The article sparked some conversation over different experiences adult female firefighters have had. It is 2016, and sometimes, even though I was in uniform, I got asked, “Oh and what do you do for the fire department?” I responded that I, too, am a firefighter like the men surrounding me. It has to be clearly stated my job was not to simply get coffee for people or do paperwork. And often, people still stumble for words when they see me. They tell their children and point, “Look there is a fireman, well a firewoman. Oh, I am sorry, what do we call you?” And I respond, “You can call me a firefighter.” Honestly, I did not even realize being a firefighter was an option for females when I was a child. Even when I was looking for jobs, I did not consider it. It was not that I did not think there were females in the occupation or that I could not do the job. I was simply never exposed to it nor saw/heard of any female firefighters. Similarly, I never considered the military until I met someone who was enlisting and he said I should join. I knew nothing about the Marines but the more I thought about it, the more I saw going through Officer Candidate School with the Marines as a good experience. There have been a lot of changes in the world and a lot of change in stereotypes; however, we still have a lot of changes to make. There is a wonderful video on Youtube and it is called Inspiring the Future – Redraw the Balance. This powerful film from MullenLowe London provocatively captures how, early on in their education, children already define career opportunities as male and female. When asked to draw a firefighter, surgeon and a fighter pilot, 61 pictures were drawn of men and only 5 were female. It’s time to #redrawthebalance. Find out how you can support the cause by visiting: inspiringthefuture.org
Captain Ninetta Violante