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Aspiring male firefighter claims bias in female recruitment policy

An equal opportunity recruitment policy was introduced after the department found that there were six female firefighters among 300 males

By FireRescue1 Staff

CANBERRA, Australia — An aspiring male firefighter is throwing a red flag, claiming a department's policy is discriminating against men.

Last year, 144 out of 802 applications for ACT Fire and Rescue were women applicants, Canberra Times reported. The department's equal opportunity recruitment policy aims for a 50/50 gender representation. The policy was introduced in 2016 after a recruitment campaign resulted in a five-fold increase in women applicants. Before that, there were six women in the department.

"Only the very best should be offered positions," the man said. "A burning building, raging storm or any other event won't back off in the name of gender equality."

He argued that women had an unfair advantage in the recruitment process. His complaint was rejected by the Human Rights Commission; his complaint was later referred to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Officials have been unable to determine if the man ever applied for a firefighting job. The tribunal ruled that his stated desire to be a firefighter was enough to move the case forward, regardless of if he had actually applied to be one.

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