The business world is tough, and when you’re a woman, it can be even tougher. It takes a strong person to succeed in business, and traditionally that kind of strength has been associated with masculinity. However, when women connect with one another, and help each other get ahead, it makes the business world, and our world in general, a better place.
The fact is though, that studies have suggested that when women have the authority to hire and fire, it brings with it an added burden of depression. Part of the reason this is so, may be the way women have been depicted in the media over the years, as catty and manipulative. This has led to a lot of women developing the mind set that they need to push other women aside to succeed, as there is only place for one woman to make her mark. Recently, we have seen that mindset changing. There are a lot of high profile women who are taking steps to help other women and make a change.
Well known for her book ‘Lean In’, and founder of LeanIn.org, Sheryl Sandberg has also launched a campaign called ‘Together Women Can’, which is aimed at encouraging women to become mentors and allies to each other in the workplace. Sheryl advocates small changes in the workplace that allow women to help their female colleagues. She gives the example of a little thing, such as acknowledging the work of a female colleague, or standing up for a woman in your office. A small change can make a big change in the workplace.
Everyone knows The Huffington Post and the woman behind it. Arianna Huffington has created a platform that has allowed women to have their voices heard. Arianna is also a huge supporter of Sheryl Sandberg and ‘leaning in’. Interestingly enough, Sheryl interviewed Arianna and asked her what advice she would offer women who want to make a difference. Arianna’s response was that women have to lead the way in changing how workplaces are structured and operated. It’s not about outdoing men, but being themselves in order to advance, and about being appreciated for it.
Women Are Key For Empowering Women
Sheryl Sandberg and Arianna Huffington are just two examples of the women taking steps that demonstrate how powerful women can be when they join forces, instead of working against each other. If you still wanting more reasons as to why women should help other women, read on.
- Helping one woman helps more than one person. Author and human rights activist Rebecca Tinsley founded her own foundation when she met the refugees of Darfur and wrote their stories. Her foundation educates the women and children who survived genocide. She couldn’t turn a blind eye, and one of her programs has transformed the lives of 50,000 women and children. You may not be able to start a foundation, but you could help one woman, and that will have an impact on her family.
- We are wired for empathy. It’s in our nature and brings out the best in us. As unlikely as it sounds, it’s part of our survival instinct to help each other. During the aftermath of catastrophic events like 911 or Hurricane Katrina, people who had lost everything were helping others. But you don’t need to wait for a catastrophe to help someone. There may be a woman in your neighborhood who is struggling and that is where you can start.
- Showing a woman that you think she has value can transform her life. Consider this story that author Marcia Reynolds once told about when she was at the lowest point in her life. She had found herself in jail, and that’s when she connected with a fellow inmate who challenged her to figure out who she was. It shook her awake. Even in dire circumstances, all it took was one person reaching out to another and giving the gift of self worth. Kindness is always available to us. It is our choice to be kind in any situation.
- We’ve all heard the saying that it’s better to give than to receive. Turns out that science backs that up. When giving is a selfless act, it activates the pleasure centers on the brain and releases endorphins, which in turn reduces inflammation thus reducing exposure to life threatening diseases from cancer to heart disease.
With the rise of movements like #MeToo, now is the time to raise awareness around women and helping them achieve their goals and empowering them. The very concept of women helping women benefits both of them.