Back from LA and heading off to Michigan. Hello and goodbye Chicago. Before I head out, there’s been something on my mind lately. A few weeks ago, I grabbed drinks with Heather, the founder of One Tail at a Time. We chatted about many things and I left our meeting feeling inspired. It’s a similar feeling to the one I had after meeting Beckie and Anna from Chicago Canine Rescue, or Kristen and Dana from ALIVE, or Abby from Anti-Cruelty Society, and of course Susan from Chicago Animal Care and Control. It wasn’t until recently that it struck me that they all have one thing in common, they’re women.
I have been volunteering with rescues on and off for the past 15 years (holy aging myself). I’ve met some absolutely incredible people, and more often than not, they are women. When I list in my head the organizations I’ve worked with, all the directors/founders are ladies.
Now, before all 23% of my male readers get offended, let me say that the few men I have worked with are equally as awesome. I’ve met some great guys doing incredible things to help our adoptable pets. There are men out there helping, and I won’t take away from them. The purpose of this article isn’t to attack men, it’s to figure out why more women are in the field and how we can change that. In essence, I’m hoping to understand why is rescue such a woman-dominated field.
Google did not have a simple answer for me, but it gave me some facts.almost 70% of the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA) are women. SAWA members are comprised of chief executives of organizations in the animal welfare field. Also, In 2017, 62.5% of all American veterinarians were women and 73% of the Animal League Defense Fund staff are women.
With a good amount of facts to back up my anecdotal experience, I had my what, but where was my why? One study found that women have higher positive behaviors and attitudes towards animals than men. Whereas men tend to have higher negative feelings towards animals, like hunting, animal abuse, etc. So was it for this reason that more women tend to get involved with animal welfare? Perhaps it’s the fact that women report feeling more compassion in their lives than men do. They also show more altruistic and prosocial behavior than men.
Again, I begged Google, “y tho?” Are women innately more compassionate or is this socialization? Perhaps it’s because men are taught at a very young age that they need to fit into stereotypical masculine roles. Whereas girls have teddy bears and dolls to care for, boys are given swords and action figures to fight. If men are only allowed to express anger, how can we expect them to be compassionate towards animals or even other individuals?
I don’t have the answer to that question, or really any of the questions I asked, but I do know that things need to change. Whether it’s simply having a dialogue or finding ways to bring more men into the rescue community, I’m eager to open up the conversation. I’m lucky to have some amazing role models to look up to in the rescue world. Each person I’ve met inspires me in a new way. I’m so impressed with the #girlboss vibe, but I’d love to welcome some men into our girl gang.
What are your thoughts about getting men involved in rescue? Any ideas? Let me know your ideas in the comments below!
It’s been too long since I stopped by the Little Barn (aka ALIVE Rescue) and it was oh so much fun. They have been hard at work opening up The Big Barn(!) so be sure to stay tuned for all those details. Pssst: if you want a sneak peek, you can check this out.
Jade – This happy, smiley girl is one lucky pup. She came in through CRISP and ALIVE decided to take her in. She has a mass on her spine which has paralyzed her back legs. Thanks to Bialy’s Wellness Foundation, she now has the coolest wheels are hasn’t slowed down since. She’ll be your perfect summer buddy, check her out here.
Gladys – Currently a nursing mama, but one that loves to play. This girl will be available for adoption once her puppies are old enough (in about 3 weeks) so check back soon!
Pretzel – Another lucky pup, Pretzel also came in through CRISP and had a large laceration across his abdomen. ALIVE is nursing him back to health and once available, I’ll be sure to let you know!
With my new haircut, I was feeling edgy (or as edgy as I can feel) so I wanted a jumpsuit to match my new attitude. Note, the new attitude is v similar to the old attitude. Anyways, I paired the jumpsuit with my favorite vegan leather booties and a belt to help define my waist. Shop the look below!