When women come together with positive intentions, and with simple actions and approaches, they can foster a nurturing and strong community; whether at work, in daily life, or in poor communities and developing nations.
There are many ways you can support and empower other women to be the best they can be; to have the confidence and connections to succeed; or to feel safe and heard.
There has developed a mindset in workplaces where women feel in competition with their female colleagues; that they have to work against each other to succeed.
But this only hinders the overall progress of women. It can be hard enough to compete with men, so why make it any harder. There is more success when women collaborate and cooperate with each other.
Support – Instead of being competitive, be supportive. Another woman’s success does not diminish or take away your own. The more women who succeed, the better. There is strength in numbers.
Share – When you do succeed, share this with other women. What worked for you can maybe help them too. Share your mistakes and difficulties also, so other women can learn and not repeat those same errors.
Connect – Present opportunities to other women so they can move up and grow. Introduce other women to your contacts. Grow your network. The more connections, the more support.
Praise – Applaud their accomplishments. Let them know when they have done a good job. But also challenge them to keep doing better. Recommended capable women or those you see potential in for a job or project.
Voice – Back each other up in meetings and bring other women into the conversation. Speak openly about salaries and encourage other women to ask for more, especially when you have done so yourself and succeeded.
Invest – Support other women’s work, products, and services. Invest in women-run businesses.
Besides the workplace, there is a lot you can do to empower women in your personal life, either in your own circle of friends or in the wider community.
Listen – Women are still emerging from a past where they were told what to do, so be slower to advise and quicker to listen. Give them an open and safe space where they can simply express themselves and figure things out.
Lead – Empower yourself and lead by example. Shut down negative gossip when you see it. Challenge gender-associated behavior and biases, especially with young girls. Be a role-model to them.
Support Network – Build a network of aligned women who understand, challenge, and motivate you; and vice versa. Seek them out when you need help. Offer support, even to those women who seem strong.
Time Out – It is in the nature of a woman’s cycle to wind down and take time for themselves to rest and recharge. Recognize this need in yourself and others. Help other women by offering to assist with their workload.
Expression– Talk openly with other women about your cycles, bodies, and desires, in a non-judgmental space. Share your vulnerabilities and validate, honor, and thank them for sharing theirs. Let them know they are not alone.
Attend – Show support by going to women-centered events, meetings, and gatherings.
3. Developing Nations & Impoverished Areas
It is just as important, if not more, to help women in poor neighborhoods and developing countries. They are still suffering from inequalities that are no longer prevalent in developed countries and prosperous areas.
Speak – Speak up about worldwide gender issues whenever possible. Expose and emphasize the needs and struggles of the most vulnerable and powerless in the world.
Aid Clean Water – Helping to provide clean water close to home would mean women and girls do not have to walk miles to fetch water. Easy access to clean water would ensure women and girls have more time to attend school or even play, spend time with family, or start a business.
Mentor – Join a program and/or be a guide and support for girls close to home, who are living in poverty and/or violence. Let them know that there are women who care and want to see them succeed.
Sponsor – Help women and girls in crisis; aid new moms who need support; help girls attend and stay in school; or invest in a small business owner in a developing nation.
Pass On– Encourage other women to do the same, to reach out wherever possible to help women who need strength and support to become stronger and be able to support themselves.