The current cadre of female New York City firefighters represent a decades-long struggle of some pioneering women to earn the right to save lives alongside their male comrades.
Leading that fight was Brenda Berkman, now a captain for the NYFD. She started her career in the formerly all-male fire service in 1982, after winning a federal sex discrimination lawsuit.
Capt. Brenda Berkman has served the NYFD for more than 23 years.
That lawsuit and the personal stories of the other female firefighters who have followed Berkman into service is the subject of a new PBS documentary, Taking the Heat.