More Women Are Leading Emergency Responses but FEMA Says Industry Diversity Has ‘A Long Way to Go’
The voices communicating the urgency of an incoming hurricane and making essential decisions for their community in the aftermath are becoming more diverse. However, there is still a long way to go.
This week at the 2022 National Hurricane Conference in Orlando, Florida, a packed conference room listened to a panel of leaders within the emergency management industry nationwide, and Florida’s top emergency management official described the progress and hurdles to creating a more diverse emergency response field.
National statistics from DataUSA.gov show only about 11.7% of emergency management directors are persons of color. More than 62% of emergency management directors are male, and 71% are white.
For the first time, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is a woman. Deanne Criswell became the 12th FEMA administrator in April 2021. Criswell is the first woman to hold the Senate-confirmed position, however, Nancy Ward also led the agency during the early months of the Obama administration as acting administrator.