In April, I had an amazing opportunity to go to New Orleans, Louisiana with 15 other members of the Milling Science Club. Throughout the week and talking to some of the industry people at the conference, I was able to hear many words of wisdom. While not related to the milling side of things, one of the discussions that stood out to me the most was visiting with a gentleman about being a young lady within the milling industry, which is a pretty male-dominant workforce.
As I had talked to this man previously a few times before, he cut right to the chase. He sat me down and looked me real hard in the eyes and said, “I’ve said the same thing to my very own daughters and I’m gonna say it to you too, just because you remind me a lot of my strong willed, yet beautiful girls who are now all grown up. You go out there in the world and you go find yourself a man. Not a boy, but a man. One that is going to treat you right, protect you, take care of you, and one that doesn’t just ask you to go to the bars and get you drunk, but a man who is going to ask you to coffee or a nice dinner and actually have a real conversation with you.” He went on to tell the difference between a man and a boy and how us girls need to stand up for ourselves, know our worth, but also never take advantage of the pure innocence of chivalry. And I think this man is EXACTLY right.
We went on to talk about how society has changed to have dating be run by technology, rather than spending quality time together. This lead to talking about millennials as a whole and being down right lazy and having some wacky morals at times. We also talked more specifically about the milling industry being male dominant and how being a women in agriculture may have its hard times in the future but in the end it’s going to be worth it, and how if a boy ever does treat us wrong, we have a strong force of men to stick up for us. “Intelligence, respect, work ethic, being just a little hard-headed, standing up for what you believe in, not taking shit from anyone, and a sass like yours–that is what will get you get far. Especially within this industry. So don’t you let your guard down, and trust your gut as well as your education.” While I probably looked like an idiot there for a second, at a loss for words and frozen, all I could think was, ‘Please for the love of all things good and mighty, get on a podium and say that to every person on the planet earth!!!’
What I am trying to get at is that some girls need to start seeing their worth and I truly believe having a strong, solid foundation of girlfriends to back you up and help realize that worth is extremely beneficial. I am so incredibly thankful for Sigma Alpha as this amazing group of ladies has done just that for me.