“Nursing has been so natural for me because it incorporates so many female characteristics and I get to bring my womanly nature into my work. It makes caring for my patients fun, like I am spending time with a friend and not at work.” Ruth is a single mother and a nurse practitioner at El Centro Family Health in Embudo, New Mexico. “I’m allowed to bring my emotions to work, its acceptable. I can coo over my patients but because I am a woman it isn’t seen as creepy.”
“There were socially accepted topics of conversation in my home and money wasn’t one of them. I never learned the vocabulary for asking for more, asking for a raise, using my connection to network and advance my career. I don’t think men question money or networking the same way. My grandmother taught me to never overstay your welcome and to not be an imposition.” Claire Rowell is a workplace anthropologist with PLASTARC, where she says her boss, Melissa Marsh, is a true role model. “It is inspiring to see Melissa’s command over a meeting. She is confident and capable and often she is the only woman in the room. A lot of my friend’s mothers are like this too and I admire them. They are strong women and their example is trickling down to their daughters. I am not yet equipped with all of these traits and skills but I hope to be in the very near future.”
“I was raised in the 1950’s when women could become nurses, teachers or social workers,” laughed Catherine Lennon, ” I was lucky I had very good parents and they sent me to college at St.Rose in Albany. We were called the “Golden Rose Buds” and this year is our 50th reunion.” Catherine became a social worker and worked for Catholic Charity who then gave her a full scholarship to Fordham to earn her MSW. “I worked in the government for the Health Department and I retired and now I get a huge pension,” she said smiling. At that time there weren’t many women working with her and her male bosses would say things like “Well, you might not be here in a few years,” implying that young women would get married and leave their jobs to become housewives. Catherine never did get married and never had children. “Single men are called swinging singles but a unmarried women is an old maid or it is assumed that you have some sort of defect that makes you unwanted,” she explained. “One of my best supervisors was gay and when she got in a fight with her partner, she moved in with me. There was a lot of sniggering at work. People make a lot of assumptions when you aren’t married,” she explained. “It really kills me to see Hillary using the woman card, because it’s phoney. You have to vote for who you want to vote for, not vote for someone because they are a woman,” she said.