The concept of amplification comes from an article written in the Washington Post about the women of the White House during the Obama Administration. Two thirds of the top aids at this time were men and the women were finding it difficult to have their voices heard. That is when they adopted amplification. When a woman made a key point in a meeting, another woman would repeat the point, giving credit to the author and it was quite effective. The President took notice and started to call on women more often.
As a physical therapist, the concept of amplification was brought to my attention more acutely when I attended the Women in Physical Therapy Summit last year. Not only did this summit introduce me to some incredible women in physical therapy (amplifications to come!), but it also made me realize how suppressed and small I had been feeling as a physical therapist. What is fascinating, is that in a profession with a majority of female practitioners, men are still often seen as the leaders in our field, get paid more, and tend to receive promotions more often than women. While I am not privy to all of the statistics, I can tell you from experience that I have felt this to be true in many circumstances in my work. My husband is a physical therapist and is a prime example of the discrepancies in pay, opportunity, and promotion in the workplace. All while having less experience. I am acutely aware of this issue and I know it affects everyone differently but I’ll admit, I tend to take it quite personally.
After attending the Women in PT Summit, I was left motivated and excited, but unsure of how to actually make a difference. As a whole, the summit sparked a fire in me and gave me the courage to take action and venture into private practice. This would not have happened without some incredible inspiration from the summit and support of many of the women I met. A week ago, I was sitting on my couch and realized that I could use April to amplify some really impressive people, organizations, and groups. The play on words was my opportunity. Hence, my version of amplification from the Women of the White House and the Women in PT Summit came to fruition. It may not be a perfect way to get the word out about the people I admire, respect and love, but I thought it was a great way to start. Given that I now work alone and that social media seems to be my place of work at the moment, there seemed no better way for me to amplify.
I encourage all of you to join in on #AmplifyApril and amplify the voice of a woman or organization you know that you feel deserves some amplification. Ideally, it’d be great to see more women amplified on social media and in the workplace (because obviously I'm biased), but I’d be remiss to say that women were the only ones that needed or deserved amplification. I encourage equal opportunity here and would love to hear of the incredible work folks are doing out there.
Dr. Ellie Somers