Professionalization and Gender in Local Emergency Management

March 1999 (VOL. 17, NO. 1)

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There is no doubt that women are in short supply as emergency managers at the local level. In many parts in our society women still do not hold positions of leadership, authority or managements. Emergency response agencies are no exception. Indeed, contemporary county offices of emergency management evolved from the traditional local offices of civil defense which were predominately occupied and operated by men. Thus, there is a long history of emergency management being considered a male domain. Although the number of women involved in the process of local emergency managements is increasing, there has been little research on women’s and men’s different experiences in this environment. This exploratory study examines women in local emergency management by looking at how gendered expectations, roles, and relationships might affect local offices of emergency management.