Female staff of the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service have experienced sexual discrimination, intimidation, bullying and harassment, a new report has found.
The Equal Opportunity Commission report also revealed the MFS was dominated by men and had a culture that was resistant to diversity.
Chief executive Michael Morgan said he was ashamed of the findings despite the small number of women who experienced the bad behaviour.
Mr Morgan said a change in culture must start by bringing an end to "bystanding behaviour".
"By speaking out instead of letting behaviours go and having courage to call out any perpetrator," he told reporters on Wednesday.
"People still have a perception about being a firefighter. We're dealing with the stereotypes.
"So it's about changing the images and language that we use, education and engaging with groups."
Of the service's 890 full-time staff only 17 are women and 95 per cent are white males.
The EOC report found an organisation characterised by shared values of professionalism, integrity, respect for authority and accountability.
But it also raised issues with the "male-dominated hierarchical culture".
Mr Morgan said the report would help the MFS create a better workplace that would benefit not just the current workforce but those in the future.
He said it was important for the MFS to correctly reflect the wider community to stop culturally-diverse people feeling deterred from applying.
"The MFS is one of the oldest legislated fire services in the world and, like most services across the globe, we are actively seeking to modernise and diversify our workforce, so that it better reflects the community we serve," Mr Morgan said.
Equal Opportunity commissioner Niki Vincent said as a prominent and proud government agency, the MFS must be a role model for other organisations and the wider community.
"It's well and good to recruit culturally diverse people but if they're not feeling included then they're not likely to stay which defeats the purpose," Dr Vincent said.