Friday, July 29, 2016

Someone who looks like me

I have grown up with white males holding places of leadership in my life as politicians, doctors, lawyers, professors, managers and priests.

I had two female managers in my first Accounting position when I was 26 years old. They saw my potential and provided me with encouragement and challenging projects to help me learn and grow in my field. During my tenure with them my husband and I had our first baby. I had a hard time getting back to work and one of the women mangers noticed it. She asked to speak with me in her office and shared her story of her return to work after having her son. She helped me develop a different perspective than I was holding. I cherish that time because I have not had female managers since. And my experience has been very different in that I do not feel the support and encouragement that they provided.

As women became doctors I shifted from the male doctors I had been seeing to female doctors. It is refreshing to talk with someone who knows what it is like to live as a female.

And last year I attended mass at St. John the Divine Cathedral in NYC where I experienced women priests serving mass and delivering the sermon. I never thought it was possible for a woman to become a priest. Her perspective shared through her sermon resonated with me in a way I had yet experienced. I found a local church with a woman priest. Being able to see someone who looks like me represent Christ is very joyful and elevates my worship.

We made a significant shift in history last night by nominating the first women as a candidate for the US presidency. She is very qualified for the position. And I am confident that she will do a great job for this country. Because she has to work even harder than any male president in order to prove to us that a qualified woman can run this country just as well as a qualified man.

I can imagine that it must be hard maybe even frightening for white males to adjust to the fact that they may have to share more of the leadership positions with someone who does not look like them. How can a woman possibly understand what is like to be a man?  They may be thinking that they have only experienced, like me, white males in positions of leadership. They may see Trump and Pence as a way to keep the status quo and keep someone who looks like them front and center. Anything else just doesn’t look or feel right. 

It has been eight years since we had a white male in the White House. It must be tiring for white males to live this way and they must be eager for it to end.

And the thought of another four years of not only not seeing a white male but a female must be very hard to comprehend and just can’t be because of the need to see someone who looks like me.

Now that I have experienced females in leadership positions, I too want to see someone who looks like me in the White House. And I hope more women will work to become leaders in all areas of our lives so that it becomes just as normal as is was for so many years of seeing white males.