Think for a minute about all of the Americans involved in the attacks at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Who do you see? Do you see the police officers and firefighters who searched the rubble for their fallen comrades? Do you see the emergency medicine technicians who took care of the survivors? There may be one group you don’t see much of: Women.
But they were there.
Women were among the first responders to the attacks. They rode on the fire trucks to Ground Zero, they climbed inside the crumbling towers to help people escape to safety, and they were buried alive. These women have made it a mission to help others recover from the attacks. But do they receive the same respect and recognition as their male counterparts?
The fire departments and police forces of this country tend to be male-dominated. In that respect, it is understandable that women aren’t among the first images that pop into heads when remembering the heroes of 9/11. The underlying goals of Vision 2020 are to give women access to the same opportunities as men. Over the past decade, there has been a struggle to add more women to the male-dominated professions. However, there are fewer women in the police forces and fire departments than there were 10 years ago. Only 5 percent of firefighters are women in the United States.
When thinking about those women, many forget that they fought the stereotypes and attitudes that the world had set in front of them to join those professions. They fought to get to where they were on 9/11, and they have been fighting ever since. They want people to know their stories, recognize that they were there, and respect them as members of that community.
As the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 rapidly approaches, remember to honor the heroes of that day, both men and women. Watch Beyond Bravery: The Women of 9/11, a documentary chronicling the stories of the women who were there. It airs at 10 p.m. EST, Sept. 11 on CNN.