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  1. #1
    Forum Member HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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    Default Feds Probe FDNY for Discrimination Allegations

    Feds Probe FDNY for Discrimination Allegations
    AP Online

    NEW YORK_It has been 24 years since Capt. Brenda Berkman joined the New York City Fire Department as part of the first graduating class of female firefighters, and since then women have risen to her rank and higher.

    But she is still a rarity in the FDNY.

    As of March 1, the city had only 33 women firefighters - less than 1 percent of the 11,468-member department.

    That is even fewer than the 41 women who were in Berkman's class in 1982.

    "In almost 24 years, the numbers of women in the New York City Fire Department have dropped whereas around the country the numbers have increased," Berkman said. "That alone should raise a red flag."

    It has. Federal civil rights officials are looking into charges of discrimination against women in the fire department's hiring practices, expanding an investigation into allegations of racial discrimination, said Bridget Kelly, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan.

    Kelly would not give details on the investigation. And Andrew Schilling, chief of the U.S. attorney's civil rights unit, also refused to comment.

    The New York Fire Department learned last summer that the investigation was expanding, said Farrell Sklerov, a department spokesman. "The department continues to cooperate fully," he said.

    Sklerov would not offer an explanation for the low number of women in the ranks, insisting on Wednesday: "We've made strides." He said there were a total of 10 women in the past four graduating classes.

    Many departments have made significant progress over the past two or three decades. Minneapolis had 69 women firefighters and officers, or nearly 17 percent of its 418 sworn employees, as of December, Fire Chief Ulie Seal said.

    "If you look at it 20 or 30 years ago, fire departments weren't aggressively or actively recruiting women," said Terese Floren, executive director of Women in the Fire Service. "But now you'll see more fire departments that are being sure to recruit among a diverse labor pool."

    Still, groups such as Legal Momentum continue receiving complaints from women about sexual harassment or lack of recruitment, said Maureen McFadden, a spokeswoman with the women's rights group. "This is coast to coast," she said.

    Jennifer K. Brown, legal director at Legal Momentum in New York, said her organization and members of United Women Firefighters had urged federal officials last year to examine New York's recruitment, testing and promotion of women.

    "This is a place where the government's role in investigating discrimination is especially important because the very small number of women in the department makes it really risky for them as individuals to speak up," said Brown.

    Sklerov said the department plans to increase its recruiting campaign with posters, newspaper ads and the sending of speakers to career fairs and other events targeting women.

    The federal investigation started after the Vulcan Society, an organization of black firefighters, filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2002. Less than 3 percent - or 328 - of the department's firefighters and officers are black.

    PBS will air "Taking the Heat: The First Women Firefighters of New York City" on March 28. The film, narrated by actress Susan Sarandon, focuses on pioneering women firefighters such as Berkman, 54, who filed the federal discrimination lawsuit that eventually led to the city's first class of women firefighters.

    "We want other girls and women to recognize that this can be an opportunity for them," Berkman said.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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  2. #2
    Forum Member HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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    here are the questions/problems I have with this article:
    "In almost 24 years, the numbers of women in the New York City Fire Department have dropped whereas around the country the numbers have increased," Berkman said. "That alone should raise a red flag."
    I agree it should raise a red flag, but the invesitagation should be as to why the number has dropped. As in look at the women who left, those who stayed, and see what the differences were.
    It has. Federal civil rights officials are looking into charges of discrimination against women in the fire department's hiring practices, expanding an investigation into allegations of racial discrimination, said Bridget Kelly, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan.
    hmmm, lets say you have 100 while people apply. maybe 5 get hired. thats 5%. lets say 20 women apply. maybe 5% get hired. That's 1 woman. anyone see a trend here? and lets not forget, NYC's process is a blind test, everyone takes the same test, and it's scored based on how well you do (or so I am told).
    "If you look at it 20 or 30 years ago, fire departments weren't aggressively or actively recruiting women," said Terese Floren, executive director of Women in the Fire Service. "But now you'll see more fire departments that are being sure to recruit among a diverse labor pool."
    You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. also, FDNY isn't turning away women, are they? in fact, I seem to recall that FDNY was having people on OT go to minority areas and actively recruit. and again, all women can apply, there isn't anything stoppnig them. how much hand holding to you really need?
    Jennifer K. Brown, legal director at Legal Momentum in New York, said her organization and members of United Women Firefighters had urged federal officials last year to examine New York's recruitment, testing and promotion of women.
    and here I was thinking they should be looking at the testing and promotion of firefighters. stupid me, I thought having a seperate set of criteria for women would be unfair to men.
    "We want other girls and women to recognize that this can be an opportunity for them," Berkman said.
    all they need to do is fill out the application and take the test. they need to make the first step.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Another investigation that will waste time, money, and effort. It will find nothing unfair. It will find the obvious answer (because they aren't applying).
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    I admire NYC for running a test that dosent cater to anyone. Everybody wants to be equal... Until it is time to be equal. However in other news, there may be a chiefs spot opening soon in a North Central state
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    It will find the obvious answer (because they aren't applying).

    This is true, at least until the “spinsters” get hold of the findings. Somehow, I imagine they will kick and scream about unfairness, and bias towards women or other minorities, any allegation of which are false.
    I too, admire FDNY for not buckling into hiring quotas, or any substandard hiring practice.

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    MembersZone Subscriber cdemarse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEYLIKESIT
    I admire NYC for running a test that dosent cater to anyone. Everybody wants to be equal... Until it is time to be equal. However in other news, there may be a chiefs spot opening soon in a North Central state
    God I see this all the time
    Equal right! Equal right!
    Damn its not going in my favor,
    HEY your discriminating against me
    "Train as if your life depends on it"
    Always Remember *343*

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasper45
    This is true, at least until the “spinsters” get hold of the findings. Somehow, I imagine they will kick and scream about unfairness, and bias towards women or other minorities, any allegation of which are false.
    I too, admire FDNY for not buckling into hiring quotas, or any substandard hiring practice.

    We'll see. Everyone today is afraid to rock the "Politically Correct" boat. What amazes me is that civil service exams were made so people couldn't be hired based on relatives, political, ete. (i.e. Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall). Now you have people demanding others are hired based on sex, race, and all other stuff. And many give in.


    FDNY was sending people out to certain areas to recruit. Money that could have been spent keeping firehouses open. Yet the amount didnt appease certain organizations in the FD. MOF, my test was held up 3 months in 1992, because 97% of the applicants were European-American male.


    These same organizations say the communities don't get enough notice. But vollies around NYC, firemens sons, and Brothers from other career depts. hundreds of miles away seem to hear about the test. And without vans driving around Chicago neighborhoods...lol

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