“Outsider Within” the Firehouse: African American and White Women Firefighters



Prior findings regarding (a) the subordination of African American women firefighters through imposed exclusion, (b) expanded definitions of tokenism and workgroup composition, and (c) the omnirelevance of race/ethnicity in Black women's perceptions of work experiences are extended to White women firefighters. A nationwide sample of 24 White women firefighters completed a 20-page survey and 1 hr interview developed from these previous findings. Both groups experienced insufficient instruction, hostility, silence, hyper-supervision, lack of support, and stereotyping and supportive as well as strained relationships with coworkers. Specific enactments of these global commonalties often varied along racial/ethnic lines. The present data, which start with the experiences of Black women then examine the experiences of White women, model an important methodological approach for understanding difference.