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Barriers and enablers to women in fire and emergency leadership roles

Barriers and enablers to women in fire and emergency leadership roles The purpose of this paper is to understand what (if any) actual and perceived barriers exist for women to take on fire and emergency management leadership roles within the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Victoria, Australia.Design/methodology/approachAn anonymous quantitative online survey was used to collect data about opinions and thoughts of staff. This informed the qualitative component of the research – in-depth, semi-structured interviews and a focus group. The combination of these techniques provides deeper insight into the nature of the barriers for women.FindingsRespondents identified real barriers for women accessing leadership roles in fire and emergency. Reflecting the wider literature on barriers to women in executive roles, those identified related to sexism, career penalties not faced by men for family responsibilities, and assumptions of women helping other women’s careers. There were more men in senior roles, leaving senior women isolated and often overlooked. Women had fewer role models and sponsors than men and less developed networks, finding it harder to access training and deployments. The context was described by most as “a boys’ club”, where men were seen to dominate meetings and stereotype the abilities of women.Originality/valueThis paper analyses the barriers to women in fire and emergency leadership roles within a masculine workplace and is rare in including a qualitative aspect to the issue in the Australian context. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Gender in Management: An International Journal Emerald Publishing

Barriers and enablers to women in fire and emergency leadership roles

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1754-2413
DOI
10.1108/gm-07-2017-0090
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to understand what (if any) actual and perceived barriers exist for women to take on fire and emergency management leadership roles within the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Victoria, Australia.Design/methodology/approachAn anonymous quantitative online survey was used to collect data about opinions and thoughts of staff. This informed the qualitative component of the research – in-depth, semi-structured interviews and a focus group. The combination of these techniques provides deeper insight into the nature of the barriers for women.FindingsRespondents identified real barriers for women accessing leadership roles in fire and emergency. Reflecting the wider literature on barriers to women in executive roles, those identified related to sexism, career penalties not faced by men for family responsibilities, and assumptions of women helping other women’s careers. There were more men in senior roles, leaving senior women isolated and often overlooked. Women had fewer role models and sponsors than men and less developed networks, finding it harder to access training and deployments. The context was described by most as “a boys’ club”, where men were seen to dominate meetings and stereotype the abilities of women.Originality/valueThis paper analyses the barriers to women in fire and emergency leadership roles within a masculine workplace and is rare in including a qualitative aspect to the issue in the Australian context.

Journal

Gender in Management: An International JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Apr 11, 2019

Keywords: Australia; Women; Emergency services; Female leadership; Flexible working; Work barriers

References