Yes, I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I've gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman
~Helen Reddy, “I am Woman”
This March, the AVMA is celebrating Women’s History Month and the accomplishments of women in veterinary medicine, both past and present. As AVMA president, I stand on the shoulders of giants, both women and men, who recognized the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession and the important role of women in the field.
Women veterinarians work in clinical practice, industry, academia, and government. We increasingly take on leadership roles in our businesses and organizations. Some of us are working moms, with additional responsibilities at our children’s schools or extracurricular events.
I got involved in organized veterinary medicine before our son came along and stayed involved throughout his childhood. My career is an important part of my identity—not my entire identity, but a very important part of it, as is being a wife and mother.
Throughout my career, I have had days where I have doubted my skills as a veterinarian, and other days where I’ve doubted my abilities as a wife, mother, and friend. One night, when our son was home from college, we were eating dinner, and I brought up the common lament of working mothers: Had I missed too many school events or important moments, and thus, did our son resent my career?
I have never seen such a profound look of shock in my life. Austin reassured me that I was a wonderful mom and that he was so proud of my accomplishments. He further told me that I was always there when he needed me or wanted my help. My son is my inspiration, and my husband is my biggest cheerleader. My employers have always been supportive of my veterinary skills AND my goals. I am not perfect at everything, every day, but I’m good enough.
This March, let’s celebrate the women who have allowed us to accomplish great things, and who have made it possible to be good enough.