England

Female firefighters prove they exist to little girl

Esme Image copyright Hannah Summers
Image caption Esme has been inspired by messages from female firefighters around the globe

Female firefighters have posted pictures of themselves on social media after a four-year-old girl said she thought only men could sign up.

Hannah Summers from London tweeted how her daughter Esme wished she was a boy so she could be a firefighter, as she only saw firemen in the books she read.

It prompted women firefighters across the country to post videos and pictures on Twitter to prove they exist.

Ms Summers later tweeted Esme "firmly believes she can be a firefighter".

Image copyright LFB
Image caption Female firefighters posted on Twitter to show they existed

On Friday, freelance journalist Ms Summers asked on Twitter if there were any books or videos with women firefighters.

She said: "My four-year-old came home yesterday saying she wished she was a boy so she could be a fireman.

"When I said 'girls can be firefighters too', she said 'but I've seen in books they are all boys and I don't want to be the only girl'."

Among the first to reply was West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) with a video carrying messages from serving female firefighters.

They tweeted: "Esme, lots of our firefighters are girls and boys - some of them want to say hello to you!"

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It was not long before others replied, even from as far away as New York.

London Fire Brigade stationed in Ealing tweeted: "We are London firefighters and we are girls. Hope we can meet you one day?"

Rebecca Rowe tweeted: "I'm also a firefighter in the London Fire Brigade. Your daughter can be anything she wants.

"Don't let gender stand in the way."

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Summers said: "It was fantastic to get such a lovely response from WMFS.

"The message obviously struck a chord with people as is evident from the massive amount of feedback we've had."

Mother and daughter are now set to speak about women firefighters at Esme's nursery, before travelling to Birmingham to meet them in person.

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) praised the video but said more needed to be done to recruit women in the fire service. According to the council, 95% of firefighters in England are male and white.

Currently only 8% of uniformed fire staff in WMFS are female.

A West Midlands Fire Service spokesman said: "The message by Esme's mum just goes to highlight the stereotypes that still exist around women being firefighters despite WMFS having female firefighters for the past 30 years."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption According to the National Fire Chiefs Council 95% of firefighters in England are white and male

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