US female firefighters fight discrimination with lawsuits

Susanna Schmitt Williams (Photo courtesy of AP Photo/ Gerry Broome)

Two women in North Carolina have joined a growing number of U.S. female firefighters who are filing lawsuits alleging discrimination.

Posted: Mar 14, 2021 10:10 AM

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Two women in North Carolina have joined a growing number of U.S. female firefighters who are filing lawsuits alleging discrimination. Joy Ponder was the highest ranking female firefighter in Asheville, North Carolina. She held the post for six years until resigning in September. Susanna Schmitt Williams was the first female chief of a municipal fire department, in the town of Carrboro. She was fired in July 2019 after four years on the job. Ponder says she fought back against her superiors while battling breast cancer. Williams says she was so distressed by the sexual harassment she experienced that she briefly pondered suicide.

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