A Little Girl Teaches Us About Feminine Ambition: Her Make-A-Wish is for a Career.

A Little Girl Teaches Us About Feminine Ambition: Her Make-A-Wish is for a Career.

The flawed assumption that women simply aren’t as ambitious as men continues to be unconsciously accepted as fact, despite decades of debunking research and data.  But maybe the actions of a sick little girl might change our collective mindset.

Annemarie is a 7-year-old girl with leukemia who is getting her Make-A-Wish Foundation wish next week.  But instead of a trip to Disneyland or dinner with a celebrity, this little girl wants just one thing: A career.  “I want to be a vet and heal zebras, horses, and kitty cats.”

So a local animal specialty hospital is giving her an opportunity to do just that.  On Tuesday, June 10th Annemarie will be doing a house-call appointment with some large animals including a zebra and horse (courtesy LA Zoo) before arriving at the hospital.  Then she will don her scrubs and customized lab coat (courtesy Scrubs Unlimited in Westwood, CA) before attending her in-house patients at Animal Specialty & Emergency Center (ASEC) in Los Angeles.  Annemarie will oversee a procedure to identify an unusual foreign body in a domestic kitty cat and will participate in a real ultrasound.  “I am absolutely bursting with excitement,” says Dr. Sue Downing who coordinated the Wish Experience with her colleagues at the LA Zoo.  It will be a chance for many of the largely female team of advanced medical specialists with years of highly technical training at the hospital to showcase their craft.

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The field of veterinary specialty medicine is a great example where ambitious women have recently overtaken men as the dominant gender.  Graduates of veterinary medicine have been predominantly female for over a decade, and now the top echelons of the field – the veterinary specialists including surgeons, oncologists, cardiologists, radiologists, and criticalists – are now mostly women as well.  Some say it is because the field is known for offering flexible schedules but others wonder if the flexible schedules came after the predominantly female workforce started making the rules.  But there is no doubt it takes a high level of ambition to succeed in this career: The average number of required years of schooling after high school, according to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, is 8 years and then candidates spend another 3-4 years in training.

Hopefully, Annemarie’s generation won’t battle the same “lack of ambition” bias as they pursue their careers and a robust family life.  And for our generation, let’s hope Annemarie’s wish can serve as our inspiration.

More about Annemarie’s story: http://www.asecvets.com/about/media

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