Fire report finds female issues
A report on equality in SA fire services has revealed bullying and harassment of female officers.
The inquiry into South Australia's Metropolitan Fire Service found female officers have suffered bullying, harassment and discrimination in the male-dominated workforce.
The report by the Equal Opportunity Commission called the fire service a “blokey boys’ club” with a “deeply hierarchical, para-military and patriarchal structure”.
It uncovered several cases in which female firefighters had been subjected to harassment and bullying.
MFS Chief Officer Michael Morgan said many were triggered by the fire service's involvement in a campaign against domestic violence.
There was also evidence that the service does not do well at including people outside of the status quo.
“This is something that as an organisation we should be ashamed of and will do anything it can to prevent,” Mr Morgan said.
“We're all pretty much all the same height, the same weight, we're all males, and we're all white.”
The MFS has committed to a review of all practises, looking for hidden bias against women and minorities.
The service also said it would implement all four of the recommendations to:
- Gather baseline data on diversity within the MFS and undertake an audit of programs, policies and procedures
- Develop a Diversity and Inclusion [D&I] Strategy
- Develop and implement action plans for each initiative/program/project that supports the D&I strategic objectives
- Develop and implement a monitoring, evaluation and reporting framework