Volume 21 Issue 2, 2006

Counting women in the Australian fire services

Merilyn Childs

Peer-reviewed Article

Archived Article


This paper argues that it is time to take into account the existing and potential roles women do and could play as paid, retained and voluntary fire fighters in the Australian fire services. Specifically, it argues that women must be ‘counted’ and ’made to count’ more effectively through the adoption of more rigorous reporting of labour market statistics by agencies across Australia that deploy fire fighters. It presents an analysis of the inadequacies of current data reporting mechanisms, as exemplified by the statistical profile of women fire fighters for the period 2002-2003 in Australia. In concludes by arguing that there is an urgent need for the inclusion of productive diversity in the fire services in future national research priorities.