Firefighting has traditionally been a male-dominated profession in India. However, more and more women have been breaking barriers and making history in this field over the years. Women firefighters in India are not only challenging gender stereotypes but are also making a significant contribution to society. In this blog post, we celebrate the achievements of women firefighters in India, their challenges, and the importance of women in firefighting.
History of Women in Firefighting:
The first women firefighters in India were recruited by the Mumbai Fire Brigade in 1992. Since then, women have been breaking stereotypes and joining the firefighting profession in various cities across the country. In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of women firefighters in India, with many states and cities actively recruiting women in this field.
Challenges Faced by Women Firefighters:
Women firefighters in India face several challenges, both in their personal and professional lives. Some of the challenges they face include gender discrimination, lack of facilities and infrastructure, and limited opportunities for growth and development. In addition, women firefighters often have to juggle their professional responsibilities with their domestic duties, making it challenging to maintain a work-life balance.
Achievements of Women Firefighters:
Despite the challenges they face, women firefighters in India have made significant contributions to their profession and society. They have proved their mettle in challenging situations, such as rescue operations during natural disasters, building collapses, and fire outbreaks. They have also taken up leadership roles and have been actively involved in training and mentoring new recruits.
Here are a few examples of women firefighters in India and their achievements:
- Harshini Kanhekar made history by becoming India’s first woman firefighter in 2010. She joined the fire service in 2007 and has since been involved in several rescue operations, including a fire in Mumbai’s Kamala Mills in 2017, where she helped save several lives.
- Shubhangi Jagtap joined the Mumbai Fire Brigade in 2011 and was part of the team that rescued people during the 2017 Kamala Mills fire. In 2018, she was awarded the Chief Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration for her outstanding work in the fire service.
- Priya Ravindran joined the Delhi Fire Service in 2013 and was the only female firefighter in her batch. She has been involved in several rescue operations, including the 2020 Delhi riots and the 2021 Uttarakhand floods.
- Sushma Mane joined the Pune Fire Brigade in 2012 and has since been actively involved in fire safety education and training programs for women and children. She has also taken up leadership roles and has been instrumental in recruiting more women firefighters in Pune.
- Preeti Sharma joined the Jaipur Fire Brigade in 2016 and was the first woman firefighter in the city. She has been involved in several rescue operations, including a major fire at a garment factory in 2019, where she helped save several lives.
- Taniya Sanyal was raised in Kolkata and has become the inaugural female firefighter to be hired by the Airport Authority of India (AAI). Prior to 2018, AAI solely employed male firefighters, but this policy was modified the previous year, allowing Sanyal to become the leading female contender in a male-dominated profession. Additionally, she currently instructs a small number of women and men who wish to become AAI firefighters.
Importance of Women in Firefighting:
The inclusion of women in firefighting has several advantages. Women bring in diverse perspectives, skills, and abilities that complement those of their male counterparts. They are often more effective communicators, have better situational awareness, and are more empathetic in dealing with victims. Additionally, women in firefighting serve as role models and inspire young girls to pursue careers in this field, breaking gender stereotypes and promoting gender equality.
In light of last week’s International Women’s Day celebrations, it is critical to acknowledge and honor the achievements made by women in all professions, including firefighting. Women firefighters in India have broken barriers, overcome challenges, and made significant contributions to their profession and society. Their inclusion in firefighting has brought about positive changes and has paved the way for more women to enter this field. At Fire Prevention and Consultancy Services, we strongly believe in gender equality and the importance of promoting diversity in the workplace. By highlighting the achievements of women firefighters in India, we hope to inspire more women to pursue careers in firefighting and promote gender equality in the workplace. We hope that this blog post serves as a tribute to the women firefighters in India and their invaluable contributions to society.