11 Feminist Careers You Never Knew Existed

Before we begin introducing you to the badassery of these careers (and the women in them), let us set one thing straight: anyone can be a feminist and anyone who is a feminist can find fulfillment in their chosen career. Feminism and one’s line of work aren’t inherently mutually exclusive. That being said, the careers you’ll find on this list are dedicated to the pursuit of feminism, and what feminist wouldn’t want a career all about empowering women?

For recent grads or those already in an established career path

1. Non-Profit Management or Pro-Bono Work in Your Own Field

Working for a non-profit organization is a great way to truly work for a cause that you care care about. They are often run by a team of staff members who specialize in finance, marketing, public relations, and related fields that make business majors a great fit for this field. If you don't want to pursue a non-profit career but still want to make a difference, look into opportunities to do pro-bono work in your field for a non-profit that you care about! Pro-bono is a term most commonly associated with legal work, but opportunities abound in fields like business, engineering and medicine, too.

Her Justice is just one of many non-profit organizations out there that is spearheading the pursuit of justice for women and their children whose well-being is compromised by domestic violence. Her Justice engages a network of New York City law firms, and their attorneys work pro-bono cases for these women and their families, who often face economic and language barriers that complicate their access to fair and affordable legal services. Amy Barasch is the executive director of Her Justice and manages the network of volunteer attorneys, representing over 80 law firms and corporations.

"To me, being a feminist means not making assumptions based on gender and ensuring equal treatment for everyone,” says Barasch. “By making a habit of questioning assumptions based on gender, we end up with solutions that are fairer to everyone."

We couldn't have said it better ourselves! As for her career, "Working in non-profits allows me to spend my time speaking honestly about the challenges facing low income women and children, and raising awareness about how all of us can help to improve their situations,” says Barasch.

2. Talent Development Mentor

Another great option for current graduettes (or senior collegiettes) to empower the next generation of women leaders is by serving as a mentor to younger students who are interested in pursuing careers in the same industry. Engineering and technology are two fields where mentors are critical to changing the ratio of women pursuing those careers.

According to Sharon Weinbar, CEO of Hackbright Academy, a software engineering school exclusively for women, hiring more women in these fields is the foundation for creating more diverse and successful businesses. As a tech industry veteran of 25 years, Weinbar was actually a mentor for Hackbright Academy before she stepped up to the role of CEO. During her time working in tech, Weinbar has seen increasingly more companies come to the realization that having less female employees, and therefore less diversity in the industry, is detrimental to innovation, team building success, and ultimately, the bottom line.

“As CEO, I understand that there isn’t a single approach that will close the gender gap in the tech industry, but providing educational and mentorship programs that encourage and promote women in tech is a step in the right direction,” says Weinbar.

Weinbar also maintains that her mentees have enriched her life in ways that she never knew was possible. In a field made out to be so "complicated" for women, helping emerging talent see that young women just like them are changing the industry could be the key to getting more girls interested in the field and ultimately changing the ratio for good.

Also check out Teaching and TA opportunities with Girls Who Code, a similar program that equips high school girls with the education to succeed in technology and engineering studies in college.

If you’re interested in a career in law enforcement

3. Special Victims Unit Police Investigator

We’ve all rooted for the kickass Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU, but have you ever thought about what it would be like to investigate sex crimes and put the perpetrators that commit them away for good? Detective Linda Pace from the Philadelphia Police Department’s Special Victims Unit told us that it’s definitely not easy, or like the TV shows, but it is completely worth it.

Detective Pace worked up to her position with the SVU gradually. After graduating the Police Academy as a single mother, she worked with several different units of the Philadelphia Police Department. After about a year and a half as a police officer, she had enough seniority to request a transfer to the SVU. Once she got there, she faced unique challenges as the only woman (and the only African American woman) in the unit. In addition to dealing with sexist prejudices from men in the police department during her career, she’s also had to come to terms with having to learn to not take her work home with her at the end of the day. After all, her unit handles all sex crimes committed against men, women and children of all ages.

According to Pace, nothing about the job is like it seems on TV. “I would like for people to understand that most cases can’t be solved right away, especially cases where the perpetrator is a stranger," says Pace. "That our unit investigates hundreds of cases a year with a limited amount of officers, and [we] don’t always have the resources or equipment we need. But most of all, that we as police officers, detectives or investigators really care about the people we serve and that we want to get justice for them."

If you’re interested in law enforcement and defending the rights of those victimized by sex crimes, this might be a career field to look into. By contributing to the incarceration of numerous sexual assailants and even a murderer, Detective Pace realized her dream job—one that might not be for just anyone.

How to prepare for this career in undergrad

4. District Attorney’s Office Internship

A great way to get exposure to the reality of a career in law enforcement is to intern with your local District Attorney’s office. The District Attorney’s office handles the public prosecution of crimes, and can provide an unparalleled look into the inner workings of the criminal justice system. While each office runs its internship programs differently, most do offer internships tailored to the education and proficiencies of undergraduate students, recent graduates and current law school students.

Like any internship opportunity, it’s important to remember that you might not get placed in the exact role that you want. The District Attorney’s office is actually made up of several smaller district law offices overseen by their own assistant district attorneys. While there is a chance that you could be working directly with an assistant district attorney, you may also be working with paralegals or related staff. But the point is, you’ll be working with the professionals who put away dangerous criminals and make the streets safer for everyone. Not many interns can say that, can they?

If you’re interested in learning more about internships with the District Attorney’s office, start with a simple Google search to find out what opportunities exist with your county’s District Attorney’s office that match up with your current education level.

If you’re interested in a career in political reform

5. ACLU Advocate

For any feminist aspiring to a career in political reform, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a powerful and familiar ally to the women’s rights movement.

The ACLU was founded to protect the constitutional rights of Americans in the face of oppressive state and federal legislature. The ACLU has been involved in the victories of countless cases that have been turning points of history, especially for women’s rights. Notable cases include 1973 cases Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, cases critical to maintaining our autonomy over our bodies and reproductive health, as well as 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned a Supreme Court ruling stating that the right to privacy did not extend to same-sex relationships, and decriminalized same-sex intimacy.

Advocacy opportunities exist in a variety of career roles with the ACLU. One example is the position of advocacy and policy strategist, who works with other legal organizations and judiciary officials to reform specific laws to be more mindful of civil rights. The ACLU also has specialized projects in which all involved staff and resources are allocated toward a specific goal, like the Reproductive Freedom Project. The Reproductive Freedom Project uses a combination of legal litigation, advocacy and education to work toward the goal of everyone’s guaranteed freedom to make their own decisions regarding reproductive health.

How to prepare for this career in undergrad

6. Campaign Volunteer

You know what they say: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were the platforms necessary to dismantle years (or even decades) of legal obstructions to justice and our constitutional rights. The saying goes something like that, right? Before you can even dream of changing the law or the future, you need to get very familiar with what it’s like to advocate for a cause that you believe in. That’s why volunteering for the campaigns of a variety of political figures, like your local Congress members and the future president of the United States are the perfect start to your political career! It’s no secret that 2016 played host to the biggest election in recent history, where a lot was at stake for women.

We consulted Holly Shulman, the former press secretary to the Democratic National Committee, for her advice on how collegiettes who are interested in politics can get their start.

“Put yourself out there. Show up at a political meeting. Raise your hand, and speak up," says Shulman. "The first press job I ever got in politics was because I cold-called a campaign and showed up ready to volunteer. I worked hard, gave it my all and after three weeks of volunteering, I become press secretary for a Senate campaign! There are plenty of opportunities out there all over the country and in Washington, D.C. All you have to do is ask.” 

While not the sole focus of an election, having a qualified woman leading the country would undoubtedly change the landscape of women’s rights in the United States in ways that no man could quite mirror. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer with presidential campaigns and any of your local Congress members’ campaigns. All you have to do is go looking for them.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in education

7. Feminism & Gender Studies Professor

Teaching about feminism and gender studies at a collegiate or post-graduate level is the foundation of understanding how we can shape a society that isn't built around the male perspective.

Sydnee Lyons, a first-year graduate student at Florida Atlantic University, talked with us about “Sex and Violence in Hollywood,” a graduate class she's taking with feminist author Jane Caputi. The class focuses on the themes of sex and violence in films like Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, Fifty Shades of Grey and Pretty Woman. In the class, Sydnee has been analyzing these works and the way they perpetuate sexism, sexualized violence and gendered stereotypes.

"I'm always in awe at what Professor Caputi brings to the discussion and how impactful her role must be in helping students across disciplines discover opportunities for equality of the sexes,” says Sydnee.

If you want to make an impact with the next generation of intellectuals who aspire to change the way society looks at the roles of women, this might be a career path for you. If you're interested but unsure of whether you want to make it your career, take a class in the subject at your university and see what you think! Some schools even offer majors in the subject.

How to prepare for this career in undergrad

8. Sorority Chapter Development Consultant

Calling all sorority women! We know that when led correctly, the college sorority experience imparts empowerment, support and an unparalleled drive to succeed upon its members. Unfortunately, not all sororities have the guidance and leadership they need, which usually results in those cringe-worthy headlines that we occasionally see hit the news.

If you feel like your sorority experience has shaped your undergraduate college experience in a positive way, you should check with your sorority’s international headquarters (or your alumnae chapter) to see what opportunities there are to help consult developing chapters in learning how to prepare for a lasting presence on campus. These positions are usually contracted to last for about a year per cycle and involve traveling around the country for a few weeks at a time to work with each chapter. It’s a great way to give back to your sorority and work during a gap year before graduate school, or if you’re still trying to figure out what exactly you want to do career-wise.

Related: 6 Ways Greek Life Can Benefit Your Future Career

If you’re interested in communications and the media

9. Fashion Writer

When you think of feminism, fashion might not be the first related industry that comes to mind. Over the years, media sensationalism has contributed to the notion that the industry is catty, cutthroat, and promotes classism. It’s a notion that even industry professionals like Maya Singer, a fashion writer for Vogue and GQ, can’t refute. But it’s a notion that they, and we, can change.

In an outstanding article for Vogue, "Finding Feminism in Fashion," Singer explores the juxtaposition of the "evils" of the industry, and the feminist ideals it does promote, like the way women almost singlehandedly dominate all aspects of the market, and thus, the inherent expectation for women to succeed in the industry.

A key way that Singer reconciles her interest in fashion with her feminist ideals is by celebrating designers who use their creativity to elevate women as the subject of their clothing, not the object.

“I guess I try to cheerlead for designers who seem to be endorsing women’s subject-ness through their clothes—that they’re dressing women who aren’t just meant to be looked at, but who are out in the world making and doing and thinking and paradigm-shifting,” says Singer.

But if you want to make it in the fashion industry, there’s more involved than just knowing the ABC’s of designers, or even how to present concept boards.

“Competence—plain old, work-your-ass-off, detail-driven, unentitled competence—is the quality that best determines success in this industry. Lots of people can know about what’s happening in fashion, so bring something else to the table,” she says.

Above all, Singer emphasizes the importance of studying culture to succeed in fashion. Fashion echoes and evolves from art in culture in every way from abstract ideas to literature and everything in between.

How to prepare for this career in undergrad

10. Blogging & Vlogging

The blogging sphere extends far beyond our favorite WordPress flat-lays. Some of the biggest online influencers of our generation are using their fame to speak loudly and clearly about everything from food to fashion to (of course) feminism.

With almost 4 million subscribers, Ingrid Nilsen is one YouTube vlogger who has taken the world by storm with the food, style and DIY favorites that she talks about on her channel. However, she recently interviewed President Obama and forced national attention on issues like the tampon tax, which instills a luxury goods tax on feminine hygiene products that we as women you know, need. Not to mention that her Instagram is straight fire.

Estee Lalonde is another YouTuber (and blogger!) with over one million subscribers who uses her platform to talk about feminist issues. She even went so far as to dedicate a section of her channel, called FemTalk, to talking openly about removing the stigma surrounding the discussion of feminist issues.

Lexie Pelchen, a senior at Penn State, has been a longtime fan of both vloggers. "[They] provide a platform for feminism and feminist issues to be openly discussed and I think this is so important!" she says.

As the publishing industry continues to move largely online, many magazines also maintain blogs for their content, which is another publishing platform that you can utilize if you already have some writing experience on your resume.

Professor Susanne Althoff, who teaches graduate-level courses at Emerson College about women’s publications, believes that purporting feminism through writing and the media also has to do with the kinds of publications we read, write for and buy into.

“I feel it is important for students to know about the rich history of women’s publications and their place in the modern media world," says Althoff, "and understand why women’s publications are so often ignored or belittled. It’s true a lot of fluff content is produced for and by women, but there are also women’s magazines and websites contributing to important conversations about politics, culture, science and other subjects."

Still not sure where to start? Check out opportunities to join the Her Campus staff of contributors!

If you’re pursuing an education and a career in medicine

11. Planned Parenthood Clinician

Planned Parenthood is the leading non-profit healthcare organization in the United States for reproductive healthcare. Historically, Planned Parenthood has spearheaded women’s reproductive rights by providing comprehensive reproductive health care and by organizing grassroots efforts through Planned Parenthood Action Networks.

According to Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood, the organization has a strong history of fighting for women’s rights by supporting the initial development of birth control, and fighting for women’s access to contraceptives and safe, legal abortions.

When we asked Dr. McDonald-Mosley what she would like to share with someone contemplating a career as a Planned Parenthood clinician, she gave us the most heartfelt response.

“I would tell them they’d be joining the ranks of some of the most passionate, concerned and skilled people I know, who believe deeply in the health, well-being and dignity of women. And they put that trust and care for women into the work they do every day," she says. "At Planned Parenthood, you are not simply starting a job; you are joining a mission, a movement and a community. It is very motivating and compelling to work at a place that aligns with your own personal values and vision.  It is incredibly rewarding that millions of people across the country trust us to provide high quality care in a safe, supportive environment.” 

Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley also explained that the number of practicing OB/GYNs in the country is not enough to keep up with the number of women who need their services. There’s also a nationwide need of nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives, each of which has their own education requirements and their own place in the industry of women’s healthcare.

She went on to explain that she believes that planning and preventing pregnancy is the key to elevating women to be able to have control of their futures. By educating women on their reproductive healthcare options, she empowers them to make their own choices and is able to advocate for the vital healthcare services that her patients, women just like us, need.

Career opportunities for medical professionals (like medical assistants, clinicians and registered nurses) abound with Planned Parenthood, along with administrative volunteer positions, which you can learn more about if you’re still working toward your license or degree.  

No matter where your career interests lie, there are infinite ways to incorporate the pursuit of feminism into your work and your education. While these roles aren't all overtly obvious in that respect, they make a significant impact on furthering the equality of men and women and demolishing the obstacles presented to this fundamental necessity.