Bahrain's Ministry of Interior to train first batch of women firefighters

Women make up only 12.5 per cent of the ministry's workforce

Women in Bahrain's Civil Defence are preparing to take the next step to becoming fully-fledged firefighters.

The Ministry of Interior is working to increase the proportion of women in its employment, which at present is 12.5 per cent.

When she joined the force, Aisha Al Yasi’s basic firefighting training showed her what her future might look like.

“The breathing equipment is very heavy and training requires physical strength,” she said.

But Ms Yasi is keen to make the cut and join the country’s first generation of women joining their male counterparts on the firefighting ground.

With a degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering, working in the Civil Defence's protection and safety department might be in her ballpark, albeit in a male-dominated field that might not be every woman's first career choice.

After she applied and was accepted into her current role, Ms Yasi said her friends and family were "a bit surprised".

But with her father working by her side in the same field, Ms Yasi believes she has a realistic shot at breaking the taboo surrounding women's involvement in physically taxing jobs such as firefighting.

Women have been working with Bahrain's Ministry of Interior since the 1970s, mostly doing important work behind the scenes.

"For a long time now, women have been given the opportunity in Bahrain ... all our colleagues here, the male colleagues, have been very supportive," Ms Yasi said.

Although she says the preliminary firefighting training was tough, she and many other women like her are prepared to take it to the next level.

"We still didn't have the opportunity to go for advanced training ... but I hope in future that we will get it," she said.

The UAE recently welcomed 15 Emirati women into Ajman's Civil Defence while others in other emirates continue to train for full-time enrolment.

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