Paula has had experience working for many different newspapers, and has been involved with media for numerous years. I asked if she had experienced any discrimination being a woman in an industry that is dominated by men. It took her awhile to answer. She then said, looking back on her career, it is hard to tell if she was treated differently because she was a woman and if she was discriminated against. She has always wondered if some situations would have been different if she were a man. Paula finally said with conviction, “But you cannot dwell on that, you just have to keep moving forward.” As we continued our conversation, she did recall circumstances though, where her being a female posed some challenges. For one, she was given the title “managing editor” at two newspapers she worked for, while the other men that had this position were given the title “editor.” Even though she was in the position of “the boss,” she still was given the title of “managing editor.” Paula also discussed another issue that many
women encounter when in the work place, when to have children. Paula remembers one of her first bosses asking her, “Are you going to get pregnant? If you are, will I then have to find someone to replace you?” This is a constant worry and struggle for many women. If they choose to have a baby, then they could easily be replaced at work.
“She feels that our generation of women has the ability to change society and how women are viewed” Even though there have been many positive changes for women through the years, there are still many challenges that women face. I asked Paula what advice she would offer women today. She said one of the most important things that women need to do is find a life
balance that works for them. Life should include time for your career, your family, volunteering, building networks, and allowing for personal time for yourself. Achieving that balance is very difficult, but so important. Another suggestion she provided is to go out and find a female mentor: someone who you can ask advice and discuss ideas. Paula firmly believes that finding this mentor will provide much needed encouragement and support to try new things. She then stated, “Do not be afraid to fail, because you can learn from those failures.” After speaking with my Aunt Paula, I could not help but be inspired by her stories, and words of wisdom. She feels that our generation of women has the ability to change society and how women are viewed. Her last piece of advice: “Make your way, do your best, and make yourself important.”
Published on Apr 18, 2012