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Firefighter in charge of gender issues resigns in protest

January 30, 2018

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A female battalion chief in Virginia’s largest fire department is resigning after saying the command is not serious about addressing gender-equity issues.

WUSA-TV in Washington reports that Kathleen Stanley is resigning as Women’s Program Officer in the Fairfax County fire department. Stanley was one of only three female battalion chiefs in the department.

In her resignation letter, Stanley says her job as women’s program officer is just for show, and that her suggestions are routinely ignored. She accused leadership of tolerating a hostile work environment.

The department’s work culture has been under scrutiny since the 2016 suicide of firefighter Nicole Mittendorff, who had been the subject of crude comments online. A survey conducted after her death found one-fourth of respondents saying they had experienced or witnessed sexual harassment.

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