Being a woman is a wonderful thing but it’s definitely not an easy one. In a misogyny-filled world, it can be tough to feel empowered and understood as a woman, but one of the easiest ways to combat this is by supporting each other and being a good ally to our fellow ladies. Here’s how to do it.
- Knock it off with the gossip. While it’s tempting to talk crap about other women, avoid doing it. Not only is it immature and unkind, but it’s also not helping to uplift other women. The world already views us as catty, bitchy backstabbers so let’s not prove them right. When someone passes on some gossip about another woman in your workplace or in your friend group, let it go in one ear and out the other and don’t internalize or repeat it.
- Celebrate our differences. There’s no one right way to be a woman. You may love wearing high heels and spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora every month while the girl in your office is a total tomboy who likes playing sports and lives in dungarees. This is OK! In fact, it’s great. It would be a pretty boring world if we all looked like identical Stepford wives. Instead of judging other women for not living up to your expectations, celebrate how many different ways there are to be female.
- Avoid thinking of womanhood in narrow terms. Similar to the above point, accept and embrace the fact that “woman” encompasses ALL people who identify as female, including trans women. Pull trans women into the fold and treat them like you would any of your girlfriends. Don’t objectify their trans identity and avoid thinking/saying things like, “Yeah, but you’re not a real woman.” Trans women are women. End of.
- Don’t compete with each other. Especially not when it comes to men. The idea that one woman’s success means another woman’s failure is ridiculous and untrue. There’s more than enough of everything in the world to go around, be it boyfriends, jobs, wedding dresses, whatever. Instead of viewing other women as your competition, view them as your teammates. We get so much further together than we do facing off against one another.
- Stick up for each other. When you hear someone, male or female, make a misogynist comment, call it out. It doesn’t matter if it’s uncomfortable or the person takes offense—the more we let casual sexism slide, the longer it will go on. Same goes for when you hear someone gossiping about or disparaging another woman. Put a stop to it and let the guilty parties know that you won’t tolerate that kind of talk in your presence. It may not change them fundamentally but it might make them think twice about what comes out of their mouth.
- Create a united front. As I mentioned above, women are so much more powerful when we stand together than when we’re against one another, competing and catfighting for no real reason. Create and nourish a group of strong, smart women and keep your circle close. Don’t be exclusive or clique-y; be open to expanding your group when the situation warrants. There’s strength in numbers.
- Give genuine compliments to show appreciation. Sure, it might be great to hear when a guy finds you hot, but isn’t even more enjoyable when another woman tells you how killer your hair looks or asks where you got your boots because they’re so cute? Giving compliments costs you nothing but it can make a massive difference to another woman’s day. When you love something, say something.
- Offer each other a leg up. If you ever find yourself in a position to help other women, do so without hesitation. If you’re a hiring manager, look for great female applicants to fill available positions. If you have a chance to nominate a colleague for an award, consider which amazing women in your office deserve some extra recognition. This doesn’t mean you should automatically choose women over men but that if you look around you, chances are you can easily see some hard-working, badass women who would really appreciate whatever opportunities you could offer them.
- Be a girl’s girl. There’s nothing worse than a woman who claims that she “just gets along with guys better” or that she just can’t seem to find female friends. That’s BS. If you’re doing everything on this list, there’s no reason other women wouldn’t flock to you like flies. If you’re struggling to befriend other women, maybe it’s because your behavior is anti-woman. Step back, reassess, and then go out there and empower each other. You’ll be so glad you did.