Women in the Forest Service

Forty years ago, I become one of the first women firefighters for the U.S. Forest Service. Not because I had anything to prove, not because I wanted to meet men, I took this job because I thought I would love the work. And I did.

Discrimination never crossed my mind. Why would men discriminate against me? I naively thought. I was a hard worker, never complained, and felt quite proud to be part of a team. Soon though, I would discover that although the guys seemed to like me, they resented my presence. Some more than resented my presence, they denied me positions because I was a woman.

Fast forward to present time. Nothing has changed! Men still resent women in male dominated fields. This article in the Huffington Post exemplifies just how hard and degrading it still is for a woman in a man's world.

I've been told I was lucky that my Forest Service career ended after an injury, and maybe they are right. Would I have been able to tough out 40 years of harassment to stay in the field I loved? Hard to say.. But I sure commend the women who stick with it. So here's to you women in "men's jobs". Don't give up. Please don't give up.

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