I work as an EMT, which is the person in the back of an ambulance taking care of a patient who calls 911. I absolutely love this job so for this week’s assignment I wanted to see what kind of gender inequalities are in the EMS workforce. First, I did what Maggie did and searched various words into google images.
Before looking at what google came up with, I want to explain why I searched the four things that I did and how they relate to EMS. So an EMT is what I am, the person in the back of the ambulance that takes care of the patient on the way to the hospital. I then searched paramedic. Paramedics are also part of the emergency medical services (EMS), but can do a lot more things than EMTs can. For example, paramedics can start IVs, drill IO’s into a patient’s bone to administer medications, and they can give many more drugs than EMTs can. I searched a firefighter because most firefighters are EMTs as well and work in the same building/rescue squad. Lastly, I searched police because they are part of the emergency medical services team. They often accompany the ambulance on 911 calls and have basic life support certifications.
I found it really interesting that when I searched both EMT and Paramedic, the results were pretty even. You can see that in those screenshots, women are pretty prevalent. In fact, a couple of the pictures that pop up have the woman EMT/Paramedic standing in front of the men. When I searched these words I expected it to show all men because being in the EMS field is considered a more manly job because of the adrenaline and potentially dangerous situations.
However, when I searched firefighter and police, only men showed up in the images that google provided. This was not a shock to me at all because men do dominate these two careers. Of course there are plenty of women out there who are police and firefighters, but they do not make up even 1/4th the careers. According to the US Department of Justice’s Crime Debrief published in 2010, only 15.2% of federal law enforcement officers were female in 2008. In 2016 the percentage has most certainly increased, but there is no data for the recent years. The Crime Debrief shows that more women are joining the police field, but in the 10 years between 1998 and 2008, the percentage of women officers only increased by 1.2%. (1)
There was also no surprise when I googled firefighter and men showed up.(2) The occupational health and safety website stated that 96% of firefighters were male in 2008 and more than half of paid fire departments had never even hired a female firefighter. (2)
It is just interesting to me that there are so many women who are EMTs or Paramedics, yet barely any firefighters and police. I understand that there is going to be a difference in the amount of women that want to be police or firefighters and those that want to be EMTs or paramedics, but they are all dangerous, adrenaline pumping jobs that require knowledge and strength.
There are plenty of people out there who think women can’t be doctors, can’t be strong, can’t be smart, but being in the field that i am in, I can prove those people so wrong. Plenty of women, including myself, have saved lives of patients in the back of an ambulance where we have less equipment, space, everything, than the hospital. I run a lot of calls with just women on my trucks and I have never had an issue. I believe the people that have never needed to ride in an ambulance, needed a firefighter, or paramedic or was in a situation with police have the opinion that men do these jobs better. We are all certified to save lives. When a person is suffering from respiratory arrest and I, a woman, walk in to save their life, I do not think about the person’s gender. Man, woman, dog, cat, I will do my job so that is all anyone should be concerned about.
The AAUW reading showed that female dominated jobs often had a smaller wage gap, but what made me mad was that these occupations were FEMALE dominated yet women are still being paid less (3). So I found it very interesting that in my MALE dominated occupation (EMS), the wage gaps are considerably low. Any wage gap at all is terrible and should not exist, but the fact that the male dominated field of EMS/police has nearly a 1% wage gap is reassuring that we are getting closer to fixing the problem in at least one occupational field.
(1) Langton, Lynn. “Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Debrief”. June 2010. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/wle8708.pdf. Thursday 23 June 2016.
(2) Occupational Health and Safety. “Nations Firefihgting Ranks are 96 Percent Male”. May 2008. https://ohsonline.com/articles/2008/05/report-nations-firefighting-ranks-are-96-percent-male.aspx. Thursday 23 June 2016.
(3) Unknown Author. “The Simple Truth about Pay Gap”. Spring 2016 Edition. https://canvas.vt.edu/courses/25933/files/902976/download?wrap=1. Thursday 23 June 2016.