The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has made tremendous progress towards gender parity at their Fire Academy and Training School (FATS). Just last month, in April 2023, 1,296 firemen and women completed a 12-week Basic Firefighting Training program and graduated. There were 678 (52.3%) males and 618 (47.7%) females from various regions nationwide, indicating that for every ten (10) recruits, it is likely to get five males and five females: a 50-50 chance of a recruit being male or female.
The GNFS is in its 60th year of establishment and has come a long way to this significant milestone. Men used to dominate the Fire Service back then; for example, thirty-four years ago, for every ten (10) firefighters taken, seven (7) would be males and three (3), females.
FATS has demonstrated its commitment to creating an inclusive environment that welcomes and supports individuals from all backgrounds. This accomplishment not only provides equal opportunities for aspiring firefighters but also helps break down gender stereotypes and gives women a chance to shine.
The fact that approximately an equal number of men and women are graduating from FATS is a solid testament to the dedication and hard work of all the individuals involved in the training process and the efforts made to give recruits the same opportunities and support, regardless of gender. The GNFS also has administrative policies like their Legislative Instrument 2415 that protects women’s rights. The service even has a Fire Service Ladies Association (FISLA) to ensure a safe and secure environment for all women.
Having a diverse firefighting force is beneficial on multiple levels and mainly contributes to the participation pillar of the GHANAP 2. It brings different perspectives, skills, and experiences, which can enhance problem-solving abilities and effectiveness in emergency response situations. Furthermore, it encourages more women to pursue careers in firefighting and inspires future generations to consider non-traditional career paths.
This success aligns with the goals of Plan International’s Women Voice and Leadership (WVL) project funded by Global Affairs Canada, under which FOSDA is monitoring the implementation of GHANAP 2.
The GNFS however faces its fair share of problems when implementing GHANAP 2. Therefore, actions to address these issues might eventually produce a complete ratio of 5 men to 5 women for every ten recruits soon, especially given Ghana’s population Census projections.
We commend the GNFS for all efforts in contributing to the WPS agenda and encourage them to empower more female firefighters until, hopefully, the Fire service appoints its first female Chief Fire Officer.
Watch out for the full Monitoring Report.