I am fortunate to have the network of capable, bold and supportive girlfriends I have right now. It is important that we all have this kind of network because as what my favorite quote from Jim Rohn says:
"You are the average of the 5 people you spend time with."
Gaining these authentic connections that go deeper than small talk or gossip didn't happen easily though. Through the years, I had gone through female drama and cattiness before ending up with these wonderful women. That is because female competition exists. I have witnessed and experienced it as early as first grade all the way to young adulthood in the workplace and I'm sure you do too. Studies show that if a new girl shows up, a considerable percentage of women tend to turn their backs on her or raise their eyebrows, compelling her to withdraw.
There are many theories to this indirect aggression such us natural selection, wherein women lower the stock of other women to protect their possessions, and internalized patriarchy in which women battle each other for the prize of men's strength, achievement and identity. Whether or not there's truth to these possible explanations, I wish this is just a phase girls go through and bringing it to light hopefully rids it of its power sooner.
In this blog post, I want us to be more conscious of this phenomenon and discover the benefits of doing the entire opposite, which is us turning to each other for support and empowerment. Through self-awareness and a shift in perspective, we can bless others and make this world a better place to live in.
The Power of the Pack
Girls thrive in collaborative work more than boys do as we tend to be more compromising and more likely to care about the collective and we must take full advantage of it. Female entrepreneurs who collaborate and foster teamwork are reported to be more successful than those who do not.
"Women have been proven to hold a key advantage in soft skills--a study by global consulting firm Hay Group found that women outperform men in 11 of 12 key emotional intelligence competencies."
5 Simple Ways You Can Empower Other Women
Share your Story
You have something to share? Whether it be a success story, failure, what worked for you and what didn't, personal struggles or you rising above challenges, share them. When you share your story, you let other women feel that they're not alone, you provide useful insights that may inspire them to take action, help them learn from your mistakes, speak up and believe in themselves. You could guide the younger generation with your wisdom without invalidating their unique experiences and chosen paths. Be generous in giving out value.
Affirm and Encourage
Encourage a woman to act on their passion despite whatever perceived limitations they have, ask for their two cents in a meeting and honor their words, encourage a woman to get out of that toxic relationship and all other things that no longer serve her. You'll never know when a woman is one simple genuine word of encouragement away from making a decision that'll make her truly happy.
Support Women-led Businesses
In general, acceptance of risk is higher in males than females. Women who take the same financial and business risks as men are in a much smaller group that they do not contribute significantly to statistics and therefore overlooked. So when you know women who are capable and brave enough to start their own empire, make sure you support them out.
You can show support to women-owned businesses in a variety of ways. You could purchase from them, like or share their posts, promote their products and services to your friends and family or give honest feedback. This way, you help the business and the owner grow.
Cultivate a Group of Empowered Women
Connect your empowered female friends with other empowered women. When you bridge like-minded women together, you make opportunities for everyone. You can introduce women who are experts in one field to women who are experts in another. They may benefit from each other's ideas that can materialize much greater ideas. Cultivate a community where the exchange of good practices, tips, hacks, projects and visions are encouraged. Make time to do self-care activities together and be intentional in scheduling high-value meetings and support sessions.
Have eyes that genuinely appreciate. When you admire something about a woman, go tell her. Your light won't dim when you shine it to another, it only makes yours brighter. Let a woman know you appreciate her kindness, generosity, intelligence, confidence or bravery. Celebrate their milestones and achievements and let them know when they inspire you.
Share this list to all women in your life and let us encourage one another to take action.