Andrea Fetchko was a summer intern for today’s the day Harrisburg.
On Monday evening I attended a holiday office party hosted by Quantum Communications in downtown Harrisburg.
As I walked into the room, the first thing I noticed was that the room was about 80% men and 20% women. Why were there so many men in the room compared to women? This question stuck with me all night as we schmoozed with countless middle aged men in well-tailored suits. After all, they were the ones that approached us the most.
I attended the party with Tara Leo Auchey and later joined by Diana Robinson, another female power house in the city. As the night progressed, we women huddled off to the side and talked about the growing opportunities for women in the city. As I listened to these women of experience talk, I surmised the problem was that the opportunities were not being readily presented to the women of Harrisburg. The “old boys club” seemed to have the upper hand within our city. The question came to mind again, why are there so many men in the room? Why is it in 2014 that the industries of public relations and news production are dominated by men.
We spoke about the need for women to empower one another to work together. Instead of competing for jobs, we should be helping each other to climb the ladder until we reach the top.
The question now is, what do we do about it? What are the steps we need to take as women in an industry generally dominated by men?
It is an intimidating thing, being in a room full of older men as a twenty-something woman trying break into an industry. What can women do as a group to change the norm of men “being in charge”? What can we do so that we are on an equal playing field with equal say? There are so many issues we know need addressed, and now is the time to take action.
I have been very lucky to come into contact with several women in Harrisburg that I find very influential. The first being Tara Leo Auchey, my first mentor and influence in my professional career. She has taught me countless lessons that I will carry with me through my career. Through my connection with TLA, I have met professional women with poise like Diana Robinson and Corinna Wilson, both of whom work for PCN. Before meeting and speaking with these women, I was intimidated when trying to assert my ideas and desires for my career. After listening to their advice and encouragement, I am now more confident and able to express my thoughts and opinions more confidently. These three women alone have given me the ability to go forth with my goals and to not stop until I reach them. Without influences like these, I would most likely settle for a job that I thought was appropriate for a twenty-two year old woman graduating from college. However, with the help of these women, I will not be settling for anything less than what I have determined to be my value.
Over the past week alone I have been influenced in so many ways. These women have shown me the importance of reaching towards my goals and working hard for what I want. I am no longer intimidated by the older men in the room. The men, who for so long have dominated the room, will no longer dominate my thoughts and actions. It is time to revolutionize the way women are seen in the industry. We will no longer be the minority in the room; we will be the majority.
As a young woman, I find myself in a great position surrounded by women who are willing and eager to help me in my career. That is what I believe we should be doing as a young generation of women. No matter what field we’re in, we must empower one another to take back the room and take back our voice. Without acting as one strong entity, we have a very small chance of succeeding. Power is in numbers, so just as the men do, we must build our numbers until we become an undeniable force.
I no longer wish to walk into a room and think, “Why are there so many men in this room?” I want to walk into a room and not even notice an imbalance of gender. I believe that time is come soon and it is coming fast. Once the idea is out there, all that’s left is to take action and to make change.
This new year is all about empowerment. Empowerment of women in the room that have fallen silent due to the overwhelming majority of men present. Empowerment means working together instead of against one another. It will be so much easier to succeed as a group rather than as individuals.
So for 2014, I say ladies lets take back the room.
Read Andrea’s blog here.