In Volunteer Maryland’s history, about 73 percent of our AmeriCorps members have been women. In this past year, Class 24, we started the year with eight men (out of 32) and finished with just three. As we gear up for Class 25, the number of men who want to serve is incredibly low. To date, we’ve interviewed 19 women and just two men. (Note: Applicants are not required to include gender as part of the application and one can’t necessarily tell gender from a person’s name or other information on an application. Besides, unless you write your name in all lowercase letters, I’m not interested in that section until I’m contacting you. I’m much more interested in the meat of your application than your name or address.)
So, what’s going on here? Where are all the service dudes?
I know Volunteer Maryland is not alone here. I saw a photo on Facebook the other day of a group of ten AmeriCorps VISTA members starting their service in Baltimore. You guessed it: nearly all women. I’ve worked for NCCC and Experience Corps and was a VISTA member with a cohort of about 20 others. In each program, the women were the majority.
Still, two out of nineteen? I have to believe that there are more potential AmeriDudes out there that we’re just not reaching. To prove this to myself, and maybe to convince some concerned fella that’s nervous he’ll be alone in a sea of women all year, I put together this slideshow of some of VM’s Dudes of Service from the last couple of years. I hope we’ll get to add more in VM25!