A female firefighter fighting a fire

Women in Fire and Rescue Services

CTIF Women Logo About us:

Main Activities / Purpose of the Commission:

- Develop and issue recommendations to improve the working conditions of women
-  Develop job descriptions
-  Develop a questionnaire to study the psychological climate and adaptation for women in the occupation
-  Annual publication in CTIF World Fire Statistics of information on women's activity in the field, on fires caused by children and on child casualties
-  Involve new members in the Working Group


Aims of the Commission for Women in Fire and Rescue Services

  • Encourage fire and rescue services to be inclusive for everyone
  • Improve working conditions for all women within fire and rescue services
  • Make Fire and Rescue Services more attractive for women to apply and become operational firefighters and continue to support them to remain in that profession
  • Learn from each other and collect best practices
  • Encourage more countries to become active members in the Commission for Women in Fire and Rescue Services


Chairperson: Mira Leinonen, Finland

Vice Chair: Mona Hjortzberg, Sweden

Secretary: Nicola Lown

Please scroll down for more members and biographies


Member Countries: 

Russia, Sweden, Germany, UK, France, Austria, Serbia, Romania, Hungary, Finland, Japan, Slovenia, Denmark, Canada, USA, Germany, Netherlands


Way of Communication: 

e-mail, Facebook

Contact: Mira Leinonen, mirafoni112@gmail.com


Products of the Working Groups: 

-  A Survey (Click here to see the Survey Answers)

- Reports from the Commission Meetings


Meeting Reports:

Click here for the 2017 Meeting Report from Berlin, Germany

Click here for the 2016 Meeting Report from Ljubljana, Slovenia


History & Background

The first Women's Committee of CTIF was formed in 1912. It was headed by Maria Ermolova (St. Petersburg, Russia). World War I interrupted their activites and the Committee was not reformed until exactly 100 years later.

In 2012 the modern version of the Working Group CTIF “Women in Fire Services” started and the first meeting took place in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Two years later, the Working Group was upgraded to Commission Status:

2012: CTIF Working Group -- “Women in Fire Services”

2014: CTIF Commission -- “Women in Fire and Rescue Services”  


Chronology of joining member countries to the meetings:

2012 - St. Petersburg (Russia ) - Austria, Russia, Sweden, Germany, UK, France, Serbia
2012 - Bratislava (Slovakia) – Romania, Finland, Japan
2013 - Belgrade (Serbia) – Slovenia, Hungary

2013 - Mulhouse (France) - no new members
2014 - Helsinki (Finland) - Denmark
2014 - Tokyo (Japan) - Canada, USA

2015 - Stockholm (Sweden) –Norway, Poland

2015 - Warsaw (Poland) - Germany, Netherlands

2016 - London (Great Britain) - no new members

2016 - Kongsberg (Norway) - no new members

2017- Ljubljana(Slovenia)- no new members

2017- Berlin (Germany) - no new members


Women in Fire and Rescue Services Commission


Commission Members 2018

Mira LeionenMira Leinonen - Finland


Mira graduated from Lappeenranta Technical University as a master of science in 2006, moved to Helsinki and started to work as a leading specialist in Finnish Railway Safety Agency.

In 2008 she started to study along with working life in Emergency Services College in Kuopio, where she graduated in 2010. Since then Mira has worked as a senior officer in Fire and Rescue Services in Finland. In 2013-2016 she worked as a project manager for Finnish safety authorities building a new generations’ s field command system.

Mira has been an active member of volunteer fire brigade in Anjali since 1989 and been a volunteer fire fighter since 1998. Mira was elected as chair to Finnish women in fire and rescue services in 2015 and the same year she was also elected to chair to CTIF women in fire rescue services commission for next 4 years. She looks forward to Commission work to improve equal opportunities for all in Fire and Rescue services.


Mona HjortzbergMona Hjortzberg - Sweden

Vice chair

Mona started working in the fire and rescue services in 1997, by participating in a government project that was carried out by the Stockholm Fire Brigade. The project lasted for ten months and was investigating why there were no female full time professional firefighters. In 1998, Mona was hired as a firefighter by Södertörn's Fire Brigade and worked in that capacity for twenty years.

As an elected union representative, Mona started working in 2007 with issues that concern women at the workplace, such as attitudes towards women, pregnancy, firefighting equipment and protective clothing. During this time, she began forming a nationwide network for women in fire and rescue services. The network, called Women in Fire and Rescue Services, was officially started in 2011. Mona was elected chair that first year and is still chair today.

Since 2015, Mona has worked at the Swedish Municipal Workers' Union as a national officer. She works with issues concerning the working environment and labour law, and is an expert in fire and rescue services.

In 2013, Mona represented Sweden in the CTIF Working Group Women in Fire Services and was elected in 2015 as vice chair of the Commission for Women in Fire and Rescue Services.


Nicola LownNicola Lown- United Kingdom


Nicola left college with a Diploma for Medical Secretaries in 1988 and moved to London where she worked as a medical secretary until she joined the London Fire Brigade as an operational firefighter in January 1995.  

She moved to Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service and was also seconded from December 2007 for 3 years to the national training centre, the Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh, England, as a station manager in the Incident Command Team and then returned to the London Fire Brigade in 2013 where she is now an operational station manager in the Strategy and Inclusion Team.  

Nicola is an Executive Committee Member of Women in the Fire Service, UK and has been a member for 14 years.  She has been secretary to the CTIF Women in Fire and Rescue Services Commission since the 7th meeting in Stockholm in April 2015 and looks forward to continue sharing best practice with the members of the Commission. 


Marinka Cempre TurkMarinka Cempre Turk - Slovenia

Marinka lives in Cerknica, Slovenia and was a volunteer firefighter from 1972 until she recently retired.  She trained as a teacher and librarian and her last position was as the team leader in Postojna Emergency Services call centre.  

Marinka is the Supreme Fire Officer and member of the Veteran Council Firefighter Association of Slovenia and for 15 years led the Female Member Council.  

Between the years of 1993 and 2008 she was Vice President of the Firefighters’ Association of Slovenia.  In her active career she spent most of her time in fire intervention or natural disasters, education, working with young firefighters and fire competitions and for 20 years was the lead in the Firefighter Association of Logatec.

She enjoys collecting firefighting-related stamps and memorabilia and hiking, and has four grandchildren to keep her busy.  She most of all is proud to have had a career as a firefighter.


Ruzica BelanovicRuzica Belanovic - Serbia


Ružica Belanović has 25 years of experience as a volunteer firefighter.

From 2008 to 2012 she was a member of the Executive Committee of Firefighting Association of Belgrade.

In 2013 she was elected Vice-president of the Firefighting Association of Serbia.


Victoria Zechmeister SmallVictoria Zechmeister- Austria


Berufsfeuerwehr Wien (Fire Department Vienna)

Einsatzleiterin (Incident Commander)

Referatsleiterin Nachrichtentechnik

Technische Angelegenheiten Alarmierungstechnik (Specialist in ommunication)



Eric FlinkEric Flink-Sweden


Executive officer Equality and Diversity 

Emergency Management Development, Department Fire & Rescue Service Section




Rita KirsebomRita Kirsebom - Norway

Fire chef in the City of Kongsberg




Barbara Szykuła - Poland


- Senior Captain Barbara Szykuła - Piec

- PhD in Sociology from The Main School of Fire Service
- Head of the Department of Social Education
in Warsaw

Barbara is driven by a desire to regulate matters relating to equality and support for women in the uniformed services. Women's issues, violence, the glass ceiling, discrimination and stereotypes are important issues which she would like to work with in the Commission.