Why is it so hard to find a feminist job?

20 Jul

A guest post from anonymous. 

In 2012, there is a War on Women, and feminist organizations are gathering all the help they can get. On Twitter and Facebook, at rallies and meetings, everywhere you go there is a cry for help and a push towards activism.

So why is it so hard to find a feminist job?

I’ve been looking for a job in the feminist-sphere for nearly a year now, with no success. While I see a few reasons why it’s difficult for me personally to find a job, I am having a hard time explaining why there is absolutely nothing out there.

There are two problems for me in particular. First is location. I do not live in a big metropolitan area, so there are fewer organizations around me. I have seen numerous jobs available in New York City, and wished I was able to move there for work. However, I am not able to do that. Of the jobs I have seen locally to me, a large majority of them require 5-10+ years of experience, or a Masters Degree or PhD. For someone my age, who has just come out of college and is looking to enter the working force, I cannot apply to the position of President, CEO, Senior Financial Officer, or other such jobs as I’ve seen.

But still my question remains: Where are the entry level feminist jobs? Where are the positions I can enter, learn about the organization, and grow to a leadership position from?

Maybe they’re out there, and I just can’t find them. The only feminist job listing I know of is on the Feminist Majority Foundation website. I appreciate its existence, but they list jobs by “region,” ie DC Metro, East Coast, West Coast, Midwest- which makes it really difficult to actually find a job (and you can be sure 98% of the East Coast jobs are in NYC). I have actually been told I’m overqualified for an entry level position once, even though I didn’t and don’t feel prepared to step straight into a management role yet.

Perhaps the big problem is the economy. Nonprofits must be having a very difficult time right now, and perhaps they don’t have the budget to take on new paid staff- which is perhaps why I’ve seen so many unpaid internship positions available. Alas, these positions are usually reserved for current college students, leaving new-grads like myself in a limbo of “not enough experience” yet “not young enough.” The economy is also probably responsible for why I feel so many organizations are emailing me daily asking me to donate my money, yet not needing any volunteers/workers at this time. Sometimes I think these organizations don’t appreciate me and other hobby activist (people within the movement who are doing it in their spare time), and just want our cash, cash, cash. However, I need cash too, to pay bills and buy groceries. If the feminist movement wants to keep hobby activists like myself around, they need to start finding ways to pay us for our involvement.

I am sure I will eventually find my dream job. There is so much need in the world for people who care and want to help, that I haven’t given up hope of finding a career that lets me help others. But I am coming to realize that it may take me longer than I originally thought to find my dream job.

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4 Responses to “Why is it so hard to find a feminist job?”

  1. Stacey July 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    I don’t want to discount your frustrations, which are real, but I would suggest expanding your definition of “feminist organization” to find smaller local organizations that do need volunteers. Whether it’s helping with clinic escorting, staffing a sexual violence hotline, or helping draft letters to the editor for an organization focused on helping people hurt by the foreclosure crisis, there are often opportunities to do feminist work that may not be immediately obvious. Working on economic justice issues that invariably affect women, particularly single women with children, is feminist work even if the organization doesn’t have a nationally-recognized name. Good luck — again, I know it’s tough out there!

  2. Kelly July 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Also it’s probably pretty hard to find any kind of meaningful career-path job. Not sure feminist jobs are any kind of outlier here.

    Also, while FMF is the main feminist-specific job posting board Idealist.org is the gold standard for progressive-leaning and feminist jobs.

  3. josh August 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    Even in better economic times, issue-based jobs are precious, and are generally filled by people who have a track record on the issues. Stacy’s suggestion is a great one. Go volunteer with orgs that work on women’s rights and gender, to build your resume. Most communities have a DV shelter, a reproductive health clinic, etc.

    Or start your own org!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. So You Want to be a Working Feminist! | Abortion Gang - October 16, 2012

    [...] know how to quanitify this particular set of experiences, but an anonymous post back in July – Why is it so hard to find a feminist job? – led me to believe I might have something useful to contribute to the conversation. Let’s [...]

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