This is (the future) female

On Saturday afternoon, at the Women’s March on Washington, I stood amongst strong ass women, men unafraid of equality, and children who have brave parents. I stood amongst humans of all colors and races, close to the same spot from which I watched President Obama inaugurated in 2013 (to a VERY big crowd #fact). The obvious contrast now is the uncertainty that surrounds this new administration. But there was a similar sense of hope. 

“The future is female.”

When Obama was first elected, I was a dietetic intern, starting to obsess over what my future as a dietitian might be. I could barely think beyond our June graduation, getting a job, living in DC, or mastering how to use a corkscrew. I didn’t know where I would be one year later, much less ten. I had no idea what kind of career I might have, or what it would mean to be a woman with a career.

Last week, I presented to the Joint Dietetic Internship Class Day on how to “Convey Your Nutrition Message with Social Media”. I included two timelines to show how I’ve used social media (since 2007), and how it has influenced my career. I talked about how I blogged and tweeted (and posted too many photos to Facebook) during my internship, between 2008 and 2009, and how different the landscape was then versus now. I looked out at a room full of mostly young dietitians, many of whom have not known an adult life without social media and most of whom do not know what their career trajectory will look like yet. They were mostly female. They will be part of our profession’s future.
 

I haven’t strongly advocated for women’s issues until very recently.

As a dietitian, I’m often surrounded by women in the workplace. I rarely considered whether my pay was equal, and didn’t worry about whether a male might be competing with me for a job. As a white American woman online, I have a lot of privilege. I write freely and often, can start and run a business, and interact without hesitation. 
Our bodies our mind our power sign

But my most recent career experience in the startup world brought a lot of women’s issues to light.

This experience overlapped with both my first year of marriage and an extremely divisive presidential election. It also happened that I was working with strong, vocal women who cared about equal pay, creating a safe space for working moms, and supporting our girl Hillary Rodham Clinton. These things might seem unrelated, until I relay the comments I received about choosing a (risky) job that put us in a (short-term) long-distance marriage instead of just going back to DC with him. That career experience mixed with the personal timing, election season, and work we were doing resulted in a new perspective, a stubborn attitude, and a readiness to fight.

I’m still learning, but we can advocate at the same time.

I’m being open about my vote (FOR HER), voicing my opinions, telling you my health stories, and marching with my fellow badass females. I’m upset about how this election turned out, but ready to run with it. I’ve been reading more books by female authors, following newly-elected female Senators and Representatives, and seeking out opportunities that will teach me something about what can and needs to be done. I’m acutely aware of my gaps in knowledge and actively filling them by being inquisitive, open-minded, and humble.

To my fellow female dietitians: Don’t let up just because we are the majority.

Let us not forget that, in the media, the list of strong voices in nutrition and health includes Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, Gary Taubes, Mark Hyman, and David Katz (to name a few). But if you Google “Nutrition expert” you see a list of women. The majority of dietitians in this country are women. We could bring a strong female voice to that list above, supporting their work but providing both the unique perspective and the community women need from each other.

This is the future female.

She’s unapologetically bold, strong, opinionated, loud, powerful, and connected. No matter her profession or expertise, she’s marching alongside, supporting, fighting and working for her female friends. She’s ready to put up a fight for her fundamental rights in career, health, and life. She’s building bridges, not walls. She’s showing you what democracy looks like, not marginalizing or discriminating. She knows that her mind, her body, and her power at not up for debate. She’s here—maybe right next to you—and is not going anywhere.

Comments

  1. January 23, 2017

    Fantastic blog! When we stand together, we stand strong! Let our voices be heard!!! Great job, Heather!!!

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