Brenda Berkman, a pioneer for women in the historically male-dominated field of firefighting, is slated to present at Convention Days. Renowned for winning a landmark 1982 federal sex discrimination lawsuit that reshaped the profession, Berkman has founded several national organizations for female firefighters, and served on numerous National Fire Protection Association committees, marking her as the first woman to do so.
Berkman also serves on the board of “Monumental Women,” an organization instrumental in erecting the Women’s Rights Pioneer Monument in New York City’s Central Park. The monument, which features Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, stands as the park’s first statue dedicated to real women. Previously, only fictional female characters were represented in Central Park’s statuary.
During Convention Days, Berkman’s three presentations, all open to the public, will cover a wide range of her experiences. Topics include her journey in reshaping the face of firefighting, the seven-year campaign to establish the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument, and a moderated discussion about public criticism and discrimination. Berkman’s pioneering work has been widely recognized, with numerous awards including the National Organization of Women’s Susan B. Anthony Award, the Ms. Foundation Gloria Award, and the New York Women’s Foundation Woman of Achievement Award, among others.
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