The head of London’s Fire Brigade is calling for an end to the term “fireman” because it is “outdated” and discourages women from entering the profession.
London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton has launched a social media campaign asking people to show their support by using the hashtag “#FirefightingSexism”.
Cotton said: “London is a complex and challenging city and it takes a diverse selection of skills, strengths and specialisms to protect it—qualities that both men and women possess.
“I want to shake off outdated language which we know is stopping young girls and women from considering this rewarding and professional career.”
Today we launch #FirefightingSexism because the term fireman is outdated & no one has had that job title since late 80s. Using it projects that the work we do is only for men, which is wrong https://t.co/DZTbw7ombc pic.twitter.com/rb9soRA06B
— London Fire Brigade (@LondonFire) October 16, 2017
The campaign is supported by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan who said: “Our firefighters do one of the most important jobs there is—helping to keep the rest of us safe—regardless of gender or background.”
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) October 16, 2017
According to the fire service there are 5,500 firefighters in London, of whom 320 are women.
Dany Cotton, 47, is the first female Commissioner of London Fire Brigade in its history, and has previously spoken of the resistance she encountered in the job when she first started aged 18.
“When I arrived at my first post in Wimbledon the officer in charge told me on day one that he didn’t agree with women being in the fire service,” she said in an interview with Prospect.
The campaign was criticised by some social media users, who said there were more important issues to tackle.
More important things at stake at the mo. Love what you do but bigger fires to fight and bigger fish to fry right now.
— Catherine (@RocketCatherine) October 16, 2017
Would have thought there are far more worthwhile campaigns to get involved in rather than a play on words.
— Zipzta (@Zipzta) October 16, 2017
Others lightheartedly referenced children’s character Fireman Sam, saying he would have to change his name.
“When are you going to break it to this dude?,” said the post, along with a picture of the children’s TV character.
When are you going to break it to this dude pic.twitter.com/bfrm7owttK
— Matt 🏍🏍💨 🚗💨 🍺 (@speedmonkeycouk) October 16, 2017