Wales

Push to get more women firefighters in south Wales

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Media captionRetained firefighter Suzanne Parry combines the role with her other job as a fitness instructor

A campaign urging more women to become firefighters has been launched as figures show they make up just 2% of the south Wales service's operational workforce.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service has just 20 women firefighters out of 838, and Rhondda has one of the lowest number of retained female firefighters.

It said that was because some believed it was not a traditional female job.

It wants to change attitudes and promote it as a valid career for women.

Gender breakdown in Wales' fire services

  • South Wales: 20 women out of 838 - 2.2%
  • North Wales: 37 women out of 668 firefighters - 5.5%
  • Mid and West: 68 women - no overall figure of firefighters given
  • All Wales: 125 women firefighters
Image caption Station commander John Jenkins said women were an 'untapped resource' for the fire service

Station commander John Jenkins, who runs three retained fire stations in Rhondda, said some people in the area had traditional views on what jobs men and women should do, which could be preventing some from signing up.

Mr Jenkins said the fire service wanted to change that view and demonstrate that the role of a retained firefighter is flexible and gives women the opportunity to develop new skills.

He said women were an "untapped resource" and, in his view, there were no barriers to the job.

He said while all recruits must be physically fit, it was a team job that played to people's strengths.

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