“Now when I go running I feel myself tensing up if I pass a bunch of male construction workers – just bracing myself for some rude comment. But really, I didn’t become aware of gender discrimination until I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic. It is a very machismo culture there and I couldn’t go out at night by myself and really had to think about what clothes I wore on the street. To protect myself I learned how to avoid eye contact. When I came back to the United States I read Sheryl Sanberg’s book Lean In and realized that women are viewed differently in the workplace.” I also became aware that I wasn’t making eye contact with men and had to unlearn the protective habit I had developed in the DR.” – Susan Stine is a Returned Peace Corps volunteer and Programs Assistant at the InterAmerican Foundation.
“Because I’m a woman I was able to be part of the sisterhood in Senegal. It’s a Muslim country and outside the home the women are mostly reserved, but I had the opportunity to be with them at home, in kitchens and in front of the Mosque. This way I was included in the daily ongoings and the conversations about their lives. ” – Kelsey Weber is a recently returned Peace Corps Volunteer who is studying to earn a Masters in Global Human Development at Georgetown University.
“I think the reason I’ve worked with international and refugee populations is partly because I am gay, and understood what it was like to live on the edges of society. In Peace Corps and afterward I was an ESL teacher and helped refugees build confidence by teaching them English so they could be heard and understood.” – Angie Harris is the Director of International Programs at The Dollywood Foundation.