International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Service (iWomen)
is an organization of women and for women - but not for women alone. Male fire chiefs, union presidents, EEO officers and others seeking to make the fire service a professional place where women and men work together harmoniously are finding iWomen a valued source of information and counsel. Our membership includes men in all ranks, as well as institutional members such as fire departments and union locals.
Nonetheless, iWomen is mostly women. As the one organization that speaks specifically for them in their profession, iWomen continues to increase in membership. Hundreds of women firefighters and officers from urban fire departments and state or federal wildland agencies belong, as do EMT's, paramedics, inspectors, dispatchers, and fire service educators. Career and volunteer firefighters and rescue personnel in 48 states and eleven countries are members. Members range from not-yet-hired "wannabe's" to senior officers with more than two decades of service. They are diverse in background, and united in their commitment to their profession. To the fire service, iWomen is their voice.
And that voice is an influential one. iWomen holds seats on several committees and task groups of the National Fire Protection Association, where we have helped establish standards for firefighter qualifications. We often take part in advisory groups providing input to the National Fire Academy, and maintain collegial relationships with the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters and the National Association of Hispanic Firefighters. Two handbooks commissioned by the U.S. Fire Administration and authored by iWomen are considered authoritative references on gender issues in the fire service.
An interactive non-profit network, iWomen provides education, support and advocacy for fire service women.
At our International Conference held every two years, h
undreds of fire service women and men gather to share experiences, challenges and insights in a relaxed and supportive educational setting. On the alternate years, our Leadership Training Seminar provides officer development for women seeking promotion to line and administrative positions.
Local 2881 in support of female leadership in the fire service authorized two Chapter Directors to attend the Conference held in Fairfax County Virginia. Chapter Directors Liz Brown and Toni Davis were sponsored to attend. The host Department was Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, home department of IAFF President Harold Shaitberger. This conference offered a wide range of classes such as: Equality Issues in the Fire Service, How to Be a Better Leader, Operational Command, Auto Extrication and many others. All these classes were taught by instructors who routinely instruct at FDIC (Fire Department Instructors Conference) and IAFF ALTS (Affiliate Leadership Training Summit). This relaxed and 95% women environment allowed women from all over the world to learn and network in an environment they felt most at ease in. Many women who attended still face adversity within their own department and this provided a friendly, nurturing and supportive environment to discuss those challenges and how to deal and eventually change those environments.
I wish every female in the fire service could attend this event, even if not sponsored, I highly recommend this conference. For more information or to join iWomen visit: