In the United States, women and men find themselves drawn to different career paths. This is often just the individual’s choice, but sometimes women and men find themselves hesitant to enter a field much more common to the opposite sex. While much study has been conducted regarding this phenomenon, we can take a closer look by examining this situation at Eastern University.
As a student, you’ve probably encountered our public safety officers around campus. They perform a variety of services for our community and work to keep us safe on a daily basis. Public safety officers can be found transferring students to and from the West Lot and the train station, taking emergency calls, patrolling campus, reporting any criminal activity and handling parking services and violations. In addition to the aforementioned duties, the staff also act as an extra hand whenever there is any kind of emergency or incident. There is quite a lot to be done, and it takes every member of the team to handle every one of these duties.
Among the staff, we wanted to get the unique perspective of our female public safety officers and understand what it’s like to work in a male-dominated field. Tracy Dahn, who has been employed here for almost a year, gives us some insight on this. When asked about what specific challenges female security officers face, she talks about how women are frequently held to different expectations and viewed as less capable than their male coworkers. Whether the issue is physical stature or perceived ability, women in these types of jobs have to work very hard to earn respect from not only their coworkers, but also from the people they are responsible for protecting. She adds that students can rest easy knowing that both Cynthia Rawlings and Andrea Mack (the other two female public safety officers) have experience as police officers and that Rawlings served in the military.
Dahn, who has worked several different jobs, took on the job here for a change of pace. She wants to let the students know that she and the rest of the team are committed to making sure everyone is safe and feels safe. Dahn really enjoys working here and notes that Eastern has a “great atmosphere and community.” Dahn, like many of us, is drawn to the closely-knit nature of Eastern University’s community. She hopes to get to know the community more and is looking forward to taking classes after a year of work.
Of our 12 public safety officers, three of them are female. Women everywhere face a difficult climb within this type of work, and Dahn, Rawlings and Mack are no exception. Students can follow their example by being unafraid to push boundaries and defy expectations as they decide on what career path to follow in the future. In the meantime, we can all get to know the people serving us and thank them for all of their hard work.
Source: Tracy Dahn