Gender bias at Washington fire department under investigation

  • Source: The Columbian
  • Published: 09/14/2016 12:00 AM

The city of Vancouver hired an outside investigator earlier this year to look into issues of gender-based discrimination within the Vancouver Fire Department. That inquiry is ongoing now. Emails obtained by The Columbian raise questions about how female firefighters are treated in Vancouver. In April, a firefighter was using the women’s restroom at Station 10 when her male boss walked in on her. When Division Chief Drew Tracy was confronted, he admitted entering the women’s restroom, according to emails. He said men have been using the women’s space as a locker room for years and allegedly responded, “the door was not locked.” The restroom incident spurred a deeper look into the department’s treatment of women. In notes written by Deputy Chief Dan Olson, titled “diversity,” the woman who was in the restroom was initially told, “so, you’re going to go there” when she pointed out she didn’t have a private restroom to use. After speaking with female firefighters, Olson reported a litany of other offenses, from inappropriate magazines in common areas to male firefighters walking around half-nude.


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