Former woman firefighter wins 10 year court case for sexual harassment

Finally, after 10 years, Michelle Maliniak won her battle against the Tucson Fire Department for sexual harassment. It’s amazing how long this took.

Despite 21 years on the job, Ms. Maliniak never got the respect she deserved from her male counterparts. It wasn’t enough to prove she could handle the work. It wasn’t enough she worked twice as hard to prove she could handle the work. She endured sexual innuendos disguised as pranks, her car was vandalized, and offensive and degrading notes were strategically placed for her to see.

Almost everything Ms. Maliniak went through I experienced over 30 years ago. Are men still so threatened by a strong woman able to hold her own? Sad, but apparently true. No wonder fewer than 1% of firefighters nationwide are women.

For those women who take on these jobs, stay strong. Don’t give up what you love. If you do, then the men who made you quit win. Don’t let them win.

Western National Forest holds special training for future women firefighters

Maybe to encourage more women to apply for firefighting positions, the Los Padres National Forest is holding a training seminar for women only. This is interesting. The article (see link above) does not say this training will lead to a job offer, only that women will be more prepared to accept a job. At least they will be paid for their efforts should they be hired.

I'm interested to find out just how many women took the Forest Service up this offer. Also to hear from the women who accepted a firefighting job, and how they were treated by the men on their crew. The article doesn't mention if any training will be provided to help women deal with potential discrimination and sexist comments, nor the difficulty advancing in the Forest Service as a woman. I'm not trying to dissuade women from trying out for these jobs. I just wonder what the Forest Service is doing to make sure they are aware of challenges which go beyond the hard work.