Female battalion chief in charge of gender issues resigns in protest

Chief Kathleen Stanley resigned with a scathing letter that claiming the department has a “false commitment” to gender equality


By FireRescue1 Staff

FAIRFAX, Va. — A female battalion chief who was in charge of gender issues resigned with a scathing letter, claiming the department is not committed to gender equality.

WUSA9 reported that Battalion Chief Kathleen Stanley was appointed Women’s Program Officer by Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Chief Richard Bowers, a position that was to help women succeed in the department without harassment.

Battalion Chief Kathleen Stanley was appointed Women’s Program Officer by Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Chief Richard Bowers. (Photo/Fairfax County Fire Department)
Battalion Chief Kathleen Stanley was appointed Women’s Program Officer by Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Chief Richard Bowers. (Photo/Fairfax County Fire Department)

Chief Stanley said she has been unable to do her job because of the department’s stance on harassment, and outlined the issues in her resignation letter.

"Fairfax County Fire and Rescue tolerates, and often defends, sexual harassment, retaliation and a hostile work environment: 'zero tolerance' is a hollow term thrown about with false commitment," Chief Stanley said.

Chief Stanley’s lengthy letter said the department has a “false commitment” toward gender equality and highlighted several examples of harassment, such as the public harassment of a veteran female captain in front of several witnesses and retaliation against her when she asked for an apology.

“There is a real need, and real potential, for the Women’s Program Officer, and judging by the issues brought to my attention in the last two years, women within the department benefit from having an advocate,” Chief Stanley said. “I have been involved with more than half of the women currently in the Department. Many of these issues have been brought forward by stand-up men in this Department who don’t want to associate with these kinds of behaviors. There are so many great people who would like to see change, but it has become obvious, I am not the right choice to facilitate this change.”

 

Fairfax County’s Highest Female Officer Resigns From Women’s Program Officer Position Posted by: Curt Varone 14 hours...

Posted by On the Line: Women Firefighters Tell Their Stories on Wednesday, January 31, 2018

 

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