Historically, women have found themselves competing for resources in a man’s world. Perhaps this is why they often feel pitted against each other and pressured to outdo other women rather than support them. Today, an increasing number of women are finding their way into government positions, boardrooms and other places of power. Women need to embrace this change and find ways to support and empower each other more than ever before. Here are some ways they can do so.
From the shape of their bodies to the careers they choose, women often face judgment from others. One woman may find people questioning her parenting if she chooses to work after having children while another who gives up her career to raise her kids may be branded as lacking ambition. In reality, every woman needs to walk her own path. Women who support each other accept the choices other women make rather than judging them. They then offer support rather than ridicule if a choice turns out to be a mistake.
Celebrate and Support
When women do good work, celebrate them and support their efforts. Watch female athletes and sporting events, read books written by women and shop in stores owned by them. At home, pay attention to other women and acknowledge important milestones in their lives, such as graduations and promotions. Don’t stand in silent admiration. Tell strong women that they are seen and appreciated.
Keep It Real
People are imperfect creatures. Even Rachel Ray pulls a burnt roast out of the oven once in a while. Martha Stewart? She went to prison. It’s tempting to show only the most polished parts of ourselves to others, but doing so only perpetuates the myth that women can do it all and do so flawlessly. When women share the parts of their lives that aren’t so pretty with each other, they send the message that it’s okay to struggle and ask others for help.
Men, too, can be feminists, and many are darn good ones. If a man puts another woman down or makes a sexist comment, call them out on it. It’s not necessary to beat men over the head with feminism until they’re back and blue. Sometimes, however, men unknowingly exhibit the trappings of patriarchal society. When an opportunity arises to praise a man for forward thinking, do so. When sexism and gender bias rear their ugly heads, say so.