Don't Devalue Young Women

Ok, so I had an interesting experience a few weekends ago that I want to share. I went to Boson for a very cool training on how to implement a new program here in our state and was excited to meet women from all across the country. The first night we were meeting as a group in the hotel lobby so that we could be shuttled to an evening of networking.

I was waiting downstairs for the shuttle and was keeping a look out for others who might be gathering to attend the same event. Since I hadn't met anyone yet I didn't know who was part of the group and who was just checking into the hotel. I saw one woman who looked like she was scanning the room, also trying to figure out who was waiting for the shuttle, and she asked a few people but walked right by me. I thought to myself, 'I wonder if she didn't ask me because of my age'. Well I still don't know but I think that was a factor.

As I started seeing people gather and heard them talking about the program I walked over to introduce myself. I said my name and where I'm from and a woman from another state said very loudly, in front of the whole group of women, "WOW - you must be the baby of the group!" I was a bit shocked that she would devalue me in this way, especially in front of the entire group of women. I responded with a lame response like "no - I'm not".

In retrospect I wish I had said something about valuing young women but alas I was too tongue tied. Many older women complain that they don't see more young women involved in the movement but at the same time devalue us by calling us girls, honey, or baby (this has happened to me multiple times).

Young women hold a lot of value and bring different skills, ideas and opinions to the table. Please don't call us these ageist names - we are women, just like you.