On January 21, 2017 over 2,600 community members participated in the Women’s March on the Palouse in Moscow, ID. This event happened concurrently with other women’s marches that occurred around the United States and around the world. The organizer of the Moscow march said that these marches were meant to send a message to the incoming (presidential) administration that “we [women] are not about to back down.” Women in the United State have rights and opportunities that women in some other countries can only dream about. We can go to school, go to work, vote, marry a man or woman of our choosing, express ourselves creatively, and more. Women need to stay strong in order to keep these rights and opportunities.
There are many women with careers in various sectors that I look up to as role models. I am pursuing a career in the field of sport, more specifically collegiate athletics, a field that is most often controlled by men. During the College Football Playoffs, I found out that the athletic directors for both the University of Washington and Penn State University, two of the top five teams in 2016, are women. Sandy Barbour is the athletic director for Penn State University and Jen Cohen is the athletic director for the University of Washington. While I do not know if Sandy Barbour or Jen Cohen participated in one of the many women’s marches, I do know that they have encouraged me to stay strong in my career pursuit. There are women in every single field of work that are excelling and acting as role models to young girls everywhere.
Seeing women in administrative roles of athletic departments is still rare but Barbour and Cohen are making career moves that will help women for years to come. These women are running some of the most elite collegiate programs in the country. While all college athletic departments are in competition with each other Barbour and Cohen support the other women working in college athletics administration. When Barbour was asked about supporting other women in similar roles she said, “We have to pull for each other, we have to back each other, and we have to hold each other up.” I think that this mentality is important for young women who are entering into the workforce. If women help each other achieve their individual goals instead of looking at others as competition, we can achieve more as a whole. Seeing what Sandy Barbour has done at Penn State and what Jen Cohen has done at the University of Washington, gives me hope for my future career and for other young women who have goals similar to mine.
I did not participate in one of the women’s marches. My personal beliefs did not align with every message that I think the marches sent. I do believe in strong women and that we have the power to do anything we put our minds to. I personally try to represent this belief by working toward my goals every day in a way that is honest and respectable. I hope to lead by example and someday influence other young women in a way similar to how Sandy Barbour and Jen Cohen have influenced me. Whether a woman decides to attend a women’s march or to march into work and prove themselves, they can make a difference for the next generation of young girls.