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Warrior Women

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5 Steps to Earn Respect in a Male-dominated Field

How does the underrepresented female shooter derive respect in a field populated largely by hard-charging men? While I don’t claim to be an authority on the subject, with 15 years in local and federal law enforcement and my current work at the SIG SAUER Academy as a firearms instructor, I do have a little experience in the field. Here are a few simple steps to help eliminate the all-too-often negative stereotypes of gun-toting women.

But first, a little history on warrior women. Defined as strong, fearless females who have chosen to defend what they hold dear, warrior women aren’t a recent phenomenon. In fact, women in combat can be traced back through almost all documented history.

Take for instance the Sauromatae women, who frequently engaged in fierce combat. In society, these nomadic women played an equal, if not dominant, role. Their marital laws even stated, “No girl shall wed until she has killed a man in battle.” Sarmatian women were known for hunting, riding horseback, and fighting right alongside the men. Evidence of this lifestyle was uncovered when the graves of these brave women were exhumed. Their bodies were often buried with their weapons, providing proof of what vicious fighters they were.

This time in history is often referred to as the pre-patriarchal age.  This belief system may not align with modern-day rituals, where the family is often led by a man. In modern society, misconceptions of women carrying weapons exist because of lack of representation. We can change that. Here’s how.

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Step 1: Keep your professional and personal life as two separate entities.
A true professional is a quiet professional. Working hard in silence can never be disparaged. This promotes overall focus while at work by minimizing outside influences that tend to corrupt productivity. In a career field reliant on survival, 100-percent engagement is necessary.

Step 2: Actions speak louder than words.
Acknowledge that you’re an abnormality. Given this fact, know that it may be essential for you to show your coworkers that they can rely on you no matter the circumstances. As cited in the Introduction to Policing by John S. Dempsey and Linda S. Forst, “At one point, the main requirement for becoming a police officer was the size of a young man’s body and his physical strength and courage.”

Over the years, we’ve learned that brains are more important than brawn in the defensive world. Instead of looking at gender differences, hold yourself to the same standards as the men in the industry. To be treated as an equal, you must prove that you are an equal.

When standards are required, whether it’s physical fitness, mission tactics, or shooting qualifications, don’t just meet the standards, crush them. If you want respect, earn it by showing your male counterparts you can run just as fast, shoot just as hard, and withstand physical altercations.

Step 3: Acknowledge and accept you will have failure points.
There are things men will be more capable of achieving. So what? This doesn’t mean that a female cannot serve an imperative role. Every person has strengths and weaknesses, so identify yours and use them to your advantage.


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