Lift and Empower Women-It is EVERYONE'S Responsibility -- Associate AD of Sports Performance Kelly Powers

“She isn’t your typical girl”. “You can say what you want around her and don’t have to worry” “She’s like one of the guys”. These statements got me jobs. My first five strength and conditioning jobs that I was hired for were offered to me by a male.  I have been hired for jobs to be the first female that the university had hired…actually twice. But I never felt like I was filling a quota. I had been tossed into train football and had every job duty that the males that I worked with had and knew that I was the best for the job. 

Why was I so confident to do what I do? I had no other choice. The males that I worked for all talked the same talk. I learned along my pathway, that I didn’t have to be my mentor. It took a while to come to the realization that I didn’t have to speak in a deep voice, stomp around angerly, swear in every statement made and get defensive in order to hold my ground. But believe me, my first few years, I truly thought I had to. Once I was confident in my own skin, okay with sarcastic comments made to me and appreciative of the men that had mentored me to be a strength coach, I truly started to develop. I have only been able to fully believe and be comfortable in not having to be the stereotype over the past couple years (at 15-17 years in the field). 

What can you do as males to help empower the females you work with and if you don’t work with, the women in our industry? Reminder, we share this industry!

  1. Invite your female coworkers to breakfast with the boys. Every week I was involved in staff breakfast where we would verbally bet on who would win the games that week. 
  2. Invite your female coworkers to cookouts, bar outings, golfing. These things interest us too. We like to talk shop and to get out of the weight room and talk about life.
  3. Have your female coworkers’ workout with you… we enjoy running and lifting too.
  4. Expect your female coworkers to be able to move equipment. We are all capable of moving weight rooms around. 
  5. Listen…truly listen to the concerns and thoughts of your female coworkers. 
  6. Talk to other males on staff and in the industry on what you can do to help females be supported. 
  7. Don’t put female coaches in gender roles. Value the empathy and emotion they bring rather than demonize it. 

What can you do as females to help empower females in the industry?

  1. Lean into other females in the industry (especially the older ones…we have seen it all).
  2. Be yourself and let other females do the same. Stop trying to fit the stereotype and mold.
  3. Encourage each other that you can have a family and still do the job. It can be done, and you can do it even better as a mom.
  4. Say yes to those offers to go to breakfast, bars, golf, cookouts, workouts.
  5. Apply for the jobs and show that you are the best person for the job description 

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