The Great Debate UK
- Dany Cotton lives in Orpington, Kent. During her 22 years with London Fire Brigade she has risen through the ranks to become a Deputy Assistant Commissioner, and is the highest ranking operational women in the UK fire and rescue service. She was also the first woman firefighter in the UK to be awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal. www.london-fire.gov.uk The opinions expressed are her own. Reuters will host a “follow-the-sun” live blog on Monday, March 8, 2010, International Women’s Day. Please tune in.–
As a woman in the fire service, I sometimes feel that part of my role is about myth busting. I’ve recently been helping the organisers of a national campaign aiming to promote firefighting careers to school aged girls, and this involved some live radio interviews.
This was nerve wracking at first but I soon got into my stride when the presenters started asking questions I’ve heard many times before. ” Surely women can’t do certain aspects of the job?” was mentioned, as was “You must have to undergo a different training process from the men?” and “aren’t women too short?” Then my favourite “how can a woman carry a man down a ladder from a burning building?”
For the record, women do the same job as men and take the same training and assessment process. You must have a good level of fitness, but if you can pass the physical tests your height is unimportant.
- During Dany Cotton’s 20 years with the London Fire Brigade she has risen through the ranks to become a Deputy Assistant Commissioner, and is the highest ranking operational woman firefighter in the UK. She was also the first woman firefighter in Britain to be awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal. The opinions expressed are her own. -
International Women’s Day on March 8, is significant for me as it’s a reminder how far women have come in all industries, but particularly my own.