The women of Sydney are on fire.
The largest number of women to ever graduate as firefighters are burning their way into a traditionally male dominated profession.
More than 40 per cent of the latest Fire and Rescue NSW graduates are women. It marks a major milestone for the organisation, where women only make up 4 per cent of full-time employees.
Claire Sargent: "It proves to people it's not just a man's job". Photo: Dallas Kilponen
The 10 women will graduate with a class of 24 on Thursday following a 13-week course at a firefighting training college based in Alexandria.
''This is huge for us as fire fighting has been, traditionally, viewed as a male only career,'' a Fire and Rescue NSW spokeswoman said.
The number of women applying increased after a targeted recruitment campaign last year.
Women made up 27 per cent of the NSW Police Force and about 10 per cent of army personnel.
Among the graduates were two mothers in their 40s who juggled raising their teenagers with gruelling training.
Claire Sargent, 22, of Springwood, is another woman who will graduate after competing against 6912 other applicants.
Her uncle and father were both firefighters and she said it was a privilege to graduate with so many women.
''[It] proves to people it's not just a man's job [and] that us women can do things like this,'' Ms Sargent said. She said she believed it would still take some time before people changed their view of the stereotypical firefighter.
''It's always been the man that runs out of the building with a person over their shoulder,'' she said.
Although men often had more strength, women were better at endurance.
''They are better at the strength whereas we are better at doing the resistance such as running up and down stairs. I think it's a good mix.''
She said although she was slightly intimidated she was confident the profession would eventually even out, gender wise.
FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said the women graduates were just as determined and capable as the men. ''I hope more women will be encouraged to apply for fire-fighting positions in the future as we've still got a long way to go if we are to better reflect the communities we serve," he said.