How Women can Empower Women
Women have an unfair representation of not getting along, being catty and petty. When looking at (generally male directed) movies we often see women pitted against each other. Even actresses are suggested not to be able to work together, as evidenced in press junkets for Oceans 8 where the actresses were asked about if they fought, or their relationship in nearly every interview; a question the many groups of male actors who worked on male led group movies have not faced.
When companies wish for (token) diversity many women compete for a single job, again pitted unnecessarily against each other.
Instead women should be boosting each other up, empowering their peers and the next generation. Here are 5 ways in which women can empower other women, especially in the workplace
1. Opening the door
Most industries and businesses used to be male dominated and many still are. The minute they hired a female a new president was set. Yes, it put pressure on that woman, for fear they may never hire a woman again if she did not meet standards. But, if she did well then they would be more likely to hire a woman again. Not only that, the first few women in industries represented hope, role models and the fulfilment of a dream. It is hard to imagine yourself in a field where no-one looks like you, but female pioneers of all kinds, in all fields encourage those dreams. If you are in this position tell your story and help other women get to where you are. Open the door and leave it open for those behind you.
2. Networking and mentorship
If there are few women in your field then use that commonality to your advantage and network with them. This means you can encourage each other in the workspace, create informal or formal mentorships and widen the circle. Even if a field is full of women, it is still important they support and help one another.
3. Hiring practices, sharing opportunities and flexibility
If you are in a position to hire or promote people think of the women in your teams and workplace. Choose the best person for the job, but don’t overlook women just because they have been historically considered a ‘risk’ due to potential pregnancy. Also, tell women about the opportunities they are eligible for. If a mother needs flexible work times and you are able to give her that, then please do. Often mothers struggle to stay in employment due to lack of flexibility, so if you are able to provide it then it would help.
4. Stand up for other women
If you hear something negative then speak up. If someone plays the gender card against a person, speak up. If you are in a position to reduce stereotypes and protect other women in the workplace then do so. If those speaking down to women face no opposition then they will continue to do so. Show support for women so they know that they cannot get away with this behaviour any longer.
5. Compliment each other
Taking a compliment is hard, but if someone looks nice tell them. If they have worked hard and done a good job, tell them. Compliments stick in peoples mind and increase confidence. It takes no time to give someone a small boost!
We, at We Encourage, ask you to inspire, lift up and empower other women at work to benefit everyone.