Brenda Berkman fought the law and won a huge battle for female firefighters

By: Start TV Staff     Posted: December 12, 2018, 4:10PM

Brenda Berkman is a retired Captain with the New York City Fire Department. She fought hard to get there. She told Start TV, "I brought the lawsuit that resulted in the hiring of New York City’s first women firefighters in 1982.” That same year, Berkman and 40 other women became the city's first female firefighters. As of March 2022, there are 134 women firefighters serving in the FDNY.

Growing up in the 1950s, Berkman told Start TV she was "frustrated by gender role stereotypes." She went on to break new boundaries in defining what it meant to be a female firefighter, founding and becoming the first president of the United Women Firefighters, winning the Susan B. Anthony Award from the National Organization for Women, and appointed as a White House Fellow by President Bill Clinton.

Watch Brenda Berkman discuss the important life lesson that led to her inspiring career:

Submit a Story