I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about role models. I feel like it is especially important today to point out who good role models are for young girls. For instance, I’d prefer for my daughter to say she wants to grow up to be like Emma Watson and not like one of the Kardashians. Is there a woman you look to as a role model?
It might come as a surprise for me to admit that I really don’t have any women who served as role models for me. At least, I didn’t have any role models in the respect that saw these women doing something a certain way and wanted to do it like they did. I attribute a big part of that to the fact that I don’t recall a gender consideration ever crossing my mind. It seems like we are extraordinarily concerned with labeling and defining people today based on gender, race, and political affiliation. I never felt pressured to do something because it was a “girl thing” and never felt prohibited from doing something because it was a “boy thing.” I always just found what I liked and did what I wanted. Gender did not once factor into my choices at all. I just never thought about it.
The other reason I think I didn’t have role models is that there were not other women doing many of the things I chose to pursue. You can’t really have a woman as a role model in your career if there just aren’t many examples in the first place. During my four years of undergraduate studies, I was the only female geophysics major. Nobody had served a role model for me, but it was just something that I wanted to do. The same was true when I got involved in Army ROTC. Later, I went on to pursue graduate degrees in finance. It was not a topic that drew a lot of women into the field, and I only had one female finance professor in all my years of school and across many universities. Again, gender never crossed my mind when making this decision. I simply thought it was something I would be good at and might like to do.