By Ben Fractenberg
MANHATTAN — The FDNY has a ways to go in terms of gender diversity, the New York Daily News reported Monday.
Ninety-one percent of firefighters are white and only 31 out of 11,500 of New York’s Bravest are female, the News said citing department records. That’s the smallest number among the country’s five biggest departments.
"The level of respect is the biggest problem. Some men think you are not supposed to be there," United Women Firefighters president Regina Wilson, 40, told the News.
The news comes on the heels of a New York federal judge ordering a hiring freeze for the department after ruling a 2007 FDNY entrance exam discriminated against black and Hispanic recruits.
The ban is in effect until at least October 1, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights.
FDNY officials told the News they are working to improve diversity through new recruiting methods, including going to multicultural parades, parties and career fairs.
"What we are trying to do takes time," FDNY Office of Recruitment and Diversity director Michele Maglione told the News. "This is not an overnight effort."