Rebecca Ramirez, one of the two Sacramento-region female fire chiefs and the first of her department, Woodland.
After repeatedly suggesting her husband register to train as a firefighter, he began to encourage her to consider the option herself. “He finally looked at me one day and said, ‘Why don’t you be a fireman?' I thought, ‘Well, why don’t I be a fireman? Do women do that?’ At that point, they are just looking for somebody who had a good attitude and who wants to work hard. Getting females into the fire service was really new back then.”
Rebecca argues that increasing the number of female firefighters requires a mindset shift and having more women apply. “That’s where the issue lies, I believe. Inspiring young women, in an early age, as early as elementary school and junior high, to see that this is an opportunity for them.”
Sacramento Bee, Photograph by Manny Crisostomo