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In first numerical empowerment goal, agency aims to double female firefighter ranks to 5% by ’26

The government said Wednesday it aims to increase the percentage of female firefighters from the current 2.4 percent to 5 percent by April 2026, setting the first-ever numerical goal to improve women’s involvement in the sector.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency urged municipalities across the country to hire more women, whose number totaled 3,875 as of April 1. The ratio is lower than the 8.1 percent for police and 5.7 percent for the Self-Defense Forces.

As 38 percent of all municipal fire departments, or 288 of them, were found to have no woman, of which 19 departments even have a policy not to hire women, the agency asked that all departments double the current ratio of female employees in 10 years by increasing the number of new hires two- to 2.5-fold annually.

The agency also sought departments with a workforce of 300 to raise the ratio to 5 percent regardless of the current figure, and those with no female employee to quickly address the situation and enroll at least two women if possible.

Other measures suggested by the agency include preparing facilities for women to more easily work night duty, including bathrooms and nap rooms, and revising physical conditions required for recruitment exams, if any, in such terms as height and weight.