Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blog Prompt Monday - Things that most challenge me as a woman in Student Affairs.

This to me was an interesting prompt because I never know what to say about my gender in relation with my job. I have always felt that there were two factors that have created challenges for me as a professional - being short and looking younger than I am ...but being a woman in student activities in general has never held me back or been a challenge. Probably because it's a female dominated area of Student Affairs.
However, moving beyond that into the world of Student Union work, I have found that you must have a certain toughness to you, and a working knowledge of certain topics in order to be taken seriously. I've gone back and forth over the years as to whether or not I have what it takes to be a Union Director. I'm still not completely sure if it's something I would enjoy as much as I do activities. I know that I could do the job, and I honestly wouldn't worry about how I would be treated. I find that if you walk the walk and talk the talk and stick to your guns, usually people will respect you.

If had to think of a time that being the girl in the situation hurt me, or if there was a time that I knew a student or co-worker or colleague needed to hear what I had to say via a man, I'd just find a man to say what I wanted. So far that's worked pretty well for me. Maybe because in the end I got what I needed? I'm sure I should be able to get the same respect and use my authority to get things done at all times - but sometimes I don't worry about it - I don't have time to take things personally, (it's someone else's issues at play not mine), and I just get things done.

The times that I have been most challenged as a professional were when I knew I didn't know all the answers, was too new, had to make choices outside of my comfort zone, or when viewed as the "young professional" when there were others in the room who had seniority.

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