The Times podcast: What it’s like for L.A.’s female firefighters

Photos of Katie Becker and other firefighters
Photos of Katie Becker, a firefighter who has said she left the Los Angeles Fire Department because of sexist hazing and retaliation by many of her co-workers.
(Michael Ciaglo / For The Times)

Less than 4% of Los Angeles’ firefighters are women — a number that, despite the mayor’s goals, has inched up only slightly in recent years. Many of the female firefighters say their ranks are so small because of a hostile, sexist culture pervading the Los Angeles Fire Department.


Today, we talk about what women in the LAFD have been dealing with, including trash in their lockers, feces on bathroom floors and nasty remarks from co-workers they need to trust with their lives. We talk to L.A. Times City Hall reporter Dakota Smith, who has covered this hazing culture, and we also hear from Stacy Taylor, a retired battalion chief who pushed for better treatment during her 26 years in the department.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Metro reporter Dakota Smith and retired L.A. Fire Department Battalion Chief Stacy Taylor

More reading:

Women say they endure ‘frat house’ culture at L.A. Fire Department. ‘The worst of my life’

Female firefighters, civil rights advocates call for LAFD chief’s removal

Firefighters sue over city of L.A.’s vaccine mandate

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, senior producers Denise Guerra and Shannon Lin and producer Melissa Kaplan. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our editors are Lauren Raab and Shani O. Hilton. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.