Lift while you climb


At the recent AAPOR conference in Chicago, I attended a session on women leaders in the association. I hate to be conscious of it but I frequently find myself noticing just how few women are conference speakers in comparison to men.

I was hoping to hear insights from these women on how they managed to be strong and opinionated without being perceived as bitches and bossy-pants. That in particular is a gender bias I don’t understand but they didn’t really answer that question.

More importantly, this session made me think that that isn’t the issue. The issue really is lifting. Man or woman, sighted or blind, old or young, walking or wheeling, are you personally lifting as you climb?

I thought back to myself. I don’t see myself as a climber but rather someone who surprisingly lands in places that make me happy. But outsiders might see it as climbing. So as i’ve climbed, have I lifted?

I have co-authored papers with junior staff. (Some of whom have recoiled and refused but I think trying counts.) I have poked and prodded into the personal lives of others to figure out how I can push them closer to where they want to go. (Some have let me and I helped push them out of my company and into grad school.)

But I haven’t lifted enough. Beware colleagues and friends…

Written on the go

3 responses

  1. Ha ha love it. There’s a fine line there, but we can’t find the line until we’ve crossed it so I say LIFT!

  2. Annie, I’m not sure about this last AAPOR event, but I rarely find women to be outnumbered by men in conference appearances — over the last 10 years, at least.

    1. That’s for sure. This is about the only session that was.

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