Recently I was talking with one of my higher-ups about an issue I had at a game and he told me, “That’s your press room. That’s your press row. You need to own that. If you aren’t okay with something, speak up.”
My response was that I wanted to wait until one of my male coworkers got there so they could have my back if people were upset.
After saying that, I realized how disappointed in myself I was for that answer. But looking back, I’m also glad that was my response. It made me realize a bigger issue: How often are young women in athletics afraid to pull the trigger on a decision until a guy or older/more seasoned staff member is around (Obviously, some decisions you need to talk over with your boss first, but I’m talking the ones that we should be making by ourselves)?
I’ve been mulling that over for around a week now.
Every one of those days I spent mulling had me thinking about how often we - meaning women that work in sports or younger people that work in the field - do this. I just so happen to be both.
I am constantly finding myself hesitant to address hard issues with my coaches, make calls regarding my sports, speak up in a meeting if I am one of the only females in attendance, or speak up if I know I am the youngest person in the room.
I guess I just do not want people to think, “that was the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” or “she just doesn’t get it.” Given my attributes, I always feel like I have to portray myself beyond my years or really educate myself on things because I’m a young woman, and to be respected, I must have to work harder to prove myself.
When I say that last sentence out loud back to myself, it all kind of sounds silly. The truth is, I would not have been hired for my job if people thought I was dumb. I would not be where I am in this field if my coworkers did not want my opinions.
Sometimes, I have to remember that I’m a part of this staff for a reason. My experiences are valuable because they are different than everyone else’s. No, everyone in the room will not always have the same opinion, but that is a good thing. Differing opinions, life experiences, and attributes are needed to create well-rounded team.
The same goes for you, too. You deserve to take up your space in a room. While it may seem cliché to say this, you are in your role because you are good at your job. Your opinion matters.
So ladies, let’s use 2019 to become women who say what we mean, mean what we say, and own our spaces.