Note: This is the first in a series of interviews conducted in celebration of Women’s History Month
Name and profession:
Erin Dorrance, WSMR Chief of Public Affairs and Public Affairs Officer assigned to Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. Dorrance is currently in the Air Force Reserves and has served in the military for 10 years.
What is it like to be a female in your profession?
“I honestly don’t feel any different as if I was a male in my profession. Once in a while I’ll notice I’m one of only a couple of females, but I’ve never had issues or felt like there was a roadblock.”
Have you faced any challenges as a female in your profession?
“No, but that is because several brave women before me have paved the way for my generation, and have made it possible for me to succeed.”
Do you think it’s easier to be a woman now in the 21st Century than in years past?
“In my generation you can be a career woman and be a mom. You don’t have to choose one or the other, unless you want to. That wasn’t always the case, and I am so glad that courageous women fought for women to make that decision for themselves and their families.”
What advice do you have for young females who are just starting off?
“Don’t think of yourself as a woman, think of yourself as a young professional blazing your own trail to achieve your own goals.”
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Pressure makes diamonds. Pushing your limits can make you go further than you thought you could, and you exceed expectations.”
How do you balance being a mother and having a professional career?
“Mothers play a major role in a family, so when they go to work it’s a big deal. I took a year off and for me, personally, I felt like something was missing and I needed to get back to work. I feel like that’s a decision the entire family should make. When I’m not at work, I’m not at work. I’m focused on my family and spending quality time together. Life is about balance.”
What has it been like to be a female in the military?
“The majority of the military is male. I am very accustomed to being the only female in the room, and not being treated any differently. Of course I equal the playing field by packing my rucksack with just as much weight as my male coworkers to prove I am just as tough as they are. The DoD embraces that equality.”