By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
I am constantly on the lookout for cheros, that’s heros who happen to be childfree. When I explore different countries and cultures, I want to know if the groundbreaker I’m learning about juggled raising children with making history. When I’m in a museum, I note names of female painters who intrigue me, then I google them when I get home, hoping to discover they devoted their lives to creating masterpieces instead of babies. I want to find women like me who have lived amazing lives (sans children) and can inspire me to do the same. So when a phenomenal woman makes the news, I want to know: Is she or isn’t she…childfree?
That’s why I got really excited when I first heard about Julia Pierson, the first female head of the Secret Service.
I found out about Pierson’s recent appointment in a post by Marcy Twete, the founder of Career Girl Network. (Read the post here here.) As the head of the Secret Service, Pierson will oversee the offices that protect the president of the United States and address national security issues ranging from identity theft to terrorism. Pierson comes to the office with more than 30 years experience, having started her career as a law enforcement officer, and she’s more than up to the tasks of her new position. A woman in charge? This is a big deal!
I went in search of more information about Pierson and found her official bio. (Read it here.) Yes, I wanted to know about her background, but really I wanted to know if she was on my “team”. Could she be a role model for me? Could she be a chero?
Spoiler alert coming…. Turns out there’s no mention whatsoever of a spouse or offspring in her bio. At first I was surprised because including family details is the norm, but then I got to thinking: This is the way it should be. A professional bio should be about a woman’s—or a man’s—professional experience and achievements. Period. Is she? Isn’t she? Doesn’t matter!
This makes it possible for us to appreciate all phenomenal people for who they are and what they do, and I celebrate this.
P.S. Twete also notes that there is some serious girl power going on since Pierson will be reporting to Janet Napolitano, head of Homeland Security. Janet Napolitano, by the way—chero! Go, team!
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.