My husband and I were riding in Sedona, AZ this weekend. He has been a huge supporter of my career and my blog/website from the beginning. Because of his support, he also likes to offer his opinion. So, as we were riding back to the resort, his comment to me was, “You have to decide whether your blog is geared only to women veterinarians; you keep focusing on women’s issues.”
I chuckled and replied, that’s the whole point. We need men to lean in with us and help push us forward. We cannot break through the glass ceiling without the support and understanding of males too. This is not just a “women’s” issue. He disagreed.
Of course I recommended he watch it ASAP, so he could see how his perspective was incorrect and contributing to the problem. He watched it, chuckled and texted, “reads like feminist activism to me.”
Few men truly understand and support the females their life, lucky for me I have met one male mentor who does. After being nominated to attend the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference by the Arizona VMA, I met one of our delegates. He came up to me right away to congratulate me on my participation in the state VMA. Then he gave me a pep talk. He inquired about my leadership goals, including future presidency of the Arizona VMA. Taken aback, I reminded him I was only 2 years out of school and have not held a public leadership position before. He said two things that really impacted me. The first was that I was qualified because I care. The second was that I better represent the profession’s population than he does, being a older white male. The veterinary profession hovers at 80% female currently in school and the number of female veterinarians now outnumbers males.
His speech inspired me to aspire for VMA presidency in the near future instead of waiting until I am 45-50 years old. It also led me to the AVMA Future Leader’s program. Women leaning in and advancing the gender equality battle must involve men. This should be a no brainer solution given the idea of equality: men=women in pay and opportunity.
Thank you to Emma Watson, the UN, and He for She campaign for finally making this a dual gender issue.