A strong community of women empower each other. Because, together, we are stronger. Here’s how to build up your sisterhood with 5 quick and easy tips.
You don’t have to be militant to empower other women, but you do need to be proactive about it. Here are five things you can do right now to start building up the women around you.
#1. Tell your story
This is particularly important if you’re successful or holding a high-level position. You need to understand that we look up to you and admire you. We put you on a pedestal and you seem to be unreachable, as though you were born successful. Of course, you weren’t. You worked hard to get where you are today.
Tell your story, with all its ups and downs. Talk about your wins but share your losses and mistakes, too. Be relatable and candid. Women need to know your story, so they can clear the fairy tale from their minds. When they see that the road you travelled is very much like the one they’re on, they’ll start believing they have the power to reach their goals.
#2. Stand up for women
When you see discrimination or an unequal playing field, call it out. Don’t just point to it; explain why it’s unbalanced and the consequences it will have. For example, not getting the best person for the job, not maintaining your foothold in the marketplace, alienating customers, damaging the business reputation… But don’t leave the focus on the negative. Instead, offer a better alternative, whether it’s a woman capable of doing the job or a change to the system so it becomes more equitable.
Don’t worry about developing a reputation for rocking the boat. It is something to be proud of. And as I’ve said in other articles, sometimes it just takes someone to open their eyes before others can see the unconscious bias in the workplace. Today most people want to be fair, so you’ll be doing them a favour.
#3. Share opportunities
We need to work together to promote ourselves. If you’re in a leadership or executive role, look for women who would benefit from an upcoming opportunity and recommend them. Advocate for women with the decision makers.
You don’t have to be in a leadership role to hear about new opportunities. If you know a female colleague who would be perfect for the opportunity, tell her about it. Keep the communication channels open between you.
#4. Encourage other women
We hesitate, we question ourselves, and we let our lack of confidence hold us back. It’s much easier for you to spot the potential in another woman than it is for her to see it in herself. Encourage women to put up their hands for new opportunities, to apply for promotions, to ask for training, to seek mentors… Hold a women’s hand when she wants courage, give her a push when she needs it, and keep reminding her of her talents and abilities. There are a lot of people who find it easy to pull others down. We need to be the people to help them climb.
#5. Build your network
Look for women who are positive, encouraging, strong and determined to help other women succeed. There’s strength in numbers, especially emotional strength which you’ll need at some stage to help you keep standing up for yourself and other women. Build a strong network both at work and outside and stay in touch. You need each other.
The more we work together and support each other, the more we’ll be heard. Your age, your role, your experience – none of it matters.
You can start empowering other women right now. Don’t let anything hold you back. You are needed.