"The first female firefighter was a slave. She volunteered in a New York City firehouse in 1818. Her name was Molly Williams and her achievement is often marked by a quote saying that she was “as good a fire laddie as many of the boys.” If true, Williams overcame a huge hurdle, one that exists almost two centuries later in the department, where females are still struggling to be considered physically competent and asexual enough to hang out in the company of men.
The first paid career U.S. firefighter, Judith Brewer, wasn’t hired until more than a century and a half later, in Arlington, Virginia, in 1974. The wives of the men in her house demanded a meeting to discuss the hire. Brewer was quoted as saying that they ‘were upset about their husbands bunking with a woman.’”
"In 2000, there were a total of twenty women in the FDNY. Twelve years later the tally was thirty-four. The most recent probationary class accepted eight, the most of any class dating back to 1982, when females were first allowed into service. However, four of the eight females have since dropped out of training.”
"Her friends often say, ‘Oh my god, you must work around hot guys all the time.’ But Medina swears she’s never been attracted to anyone in her firehouse. ‘It’s also a bit taboo,’ she says. She pauses, then adds: ‘And ya’ know, they tawk like this: Sophy, how ya’ do-win. Hey yo bada bing bada boom.’ She admits she’s exaggerating as she imitates men in her firehouse, the way a sister would a brother, and as though she’s been given that right as a member of its tight-knit, devoted community.”
The Woman Who Played With Fire