For decades, society has pinned women against each other.
Comparisons have been made. Space has been limited. Voices have been silenced.
Throughout the world, strides are made each day towards gender equality however many women still face issues such as workplace discrimination, targeted violence and societal stereotyping.
And sometimes, this conflict even takes place between women.
Many of us will admit to times when we have judged the appearance or character of another woman unfairly. Many of us have found ourselves making comparisons, seeking sources of jealousy or superiority or putting other women down- making them and ourselves, feel rubbish.
Sound familiar? Painfully familiar?
Well, it doesn’t have to be this way! Perhaps it did in secondary school, but now we have the opportunity to become more than that. We can make a real difference.
Alone we have power but there is a bigger impact in collective action and in community. Today, women are more revved up and connected to each other than ever before and that is pretty exciting!
Below are 10 ways we can all actively support fellow women on a daily basis in every single part of their lives, including everything from work to motherhood to emotional well-being and beyond!
Lead by Example
One of the best ways to empower other women is to empower yourself.
While we still see a huge gap in gender equality in the workplace, it is worth pointing out that not all barriers facing women can be attributed to the glass ceiling imposed by the traditional workplace. Women often hold themselves back from advancement with self-imposed barriers.
Barriers can be broken down. And often, when we hear about the stories of other successful women, it can provide encouragement.
Share your success story, with all its ups and downs. Talk about your wins but share your losses and mistakes, too. Women who are authentic and real about their journey have an opportunity to encourage and foster a culture where fellow women feel confident to learn, grow and be empowered.
Don't Just Avoid Gossip, Shut it Down!
Any time people come together- at work, at school, with family, with friends, almost everyone pulls their chair a little closer when there is juicy tea to spill. While many of us may view gossiping as harmless (and often it can be), more often than not, people get hurt.
Girl-bashing and slut-shaming are common phenomena particularly in the online world today. The language we choose to use for other women is important. When we use derogatory names or labels, it makes it okay for other people to use those words about women.
It’s time to Kill. That. Noise.
Pass the Mic
It’s important to learn how to best support other women by listening to those who have different experiences than you. Keep an open mind and simply listen. Take the time to hear someone out who comes from a different ethnic or economic background or someone with a different sexual orientation.
Our stories are as varied and layered as we are — and they’re all worth hearing. You may even learn something about yourself in the process.
Stand up for Equality
Whether you’re talking to your friends and family or engaging with an advocacy organization, the most important way to be an advocate is speaking up.
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.
By raising your voice for women’s rights and gender equality, you can spread awareness and break down barriers.
Build Your Female Network
A recent Harvard study revealed that for women, in particular, it’s not just what we put into our bodies that is key to our health and happiness, but who we put around us.
We believe in the power that comes from women supporting women.
Whether you are looking for a professional network group or just to build your social circle, we can all benefit from having supportive and empowering women by our side.
To build your squad, look for those who are positive, encouraging, strong and determined to help other women succeed. If in doubt, ask yourself “Would I go to this person with a problem or a question? Do I feel energised when I’m around them?
Support Women in Need
When it comes to empowering women, we cannot forget about our sisters in need.
The following list of female-focused organisations are just some of the incredible groups supporting women in Ireland and can be used as a jumping-off place as you explore the world of female causes.
- Homeless Period- a charity with the sole aim of providing sanitary products for those who struggle to avail of these themselves.
- Women’s Aid- a leading national organisation that has been working in Ireland to stop domestic violence against women and children since 1974.
- Dublin Rape Crisis Centre- provides 24-hour service for victims of rape and fights to end sexual violence in Ireland.
- Anew- provides support services for pregnant women and new mothers in the areas of parenting, emotional wellbeing, homelessness and housing.
Invest in Women-Led Businesses
If your idea of a business owner is a 55-year-old white man in a business suit — think again.
Women-owned businesses are on the rise. In fact, a study by PwC has forecasted that by 2022, 1 billion women are set to enter the economy as employers, producers and entrepreneurs.
But, how can we support these incredible female-led ventures worldwide?
Lack of coverage and visibility are one of the main causes impacting the growth potential of women-led businesses. Social media is an amazing tool for small businesses. If you have a favourite female-owned business, don’t keep it to yourself. Follow them on their social media channels. Share things you find interesting/ entertaining and invite friends to check them out!
Talk about Taboo Topics
As Michelle Obama said, 'I think it's the worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work”.
Today, women around the world are still being shunned by their community and forced to feel shameful about their period.
In fact, closer to home in Ireland, a study by Plan International in 2018 revealed that over 61% of Irish girls felt embarrassed about their period.
This has to change and it starts with open conversation.
At Vitropics, we are passionate about challenging the stigma that surrounds female health such as menstruation, PMS and menopause. We talk openly about issues that impact women every single day and believe that by increasing our knowledge about our bodies and our health, we empower ourselves and others.
Join in the conversation with us over on social @Vitropics
Celebrate Her Success
We live in a time where it is all too easy to compare ourselves to each other. As we swipe through one woman’s Instagram Stories, we can wonder how she was able to train for a marathon, redecorate her living room and probably still be a perfect mother who probably cooked an incredible dinner for her family while keeping on top of household tasks.
Our gut reaction might sometimes be to act out of jealousy or feel threatened when really we should be celebrating rather than comparing.
We love the Shine Theory, which is based around the idea that when you help another woman rise, we all shine. Just being another woman’s cheerleader can make a major impact. Tell your colleague when she’s had a great idea at a meeting or has done a great job with a new project. Share on social when your friend gets a promotion or achieves a goal. Show up to your cousin’s graduation.
Empower Early On
As parents, we want our daughters to grow up confident, with an amazing sense of self-worth, a whole lot of resilience, and respect for others.
In a world where gender inequality is still a major issue, our daughters need to feel empowered to face these challenges.
Let them know early on that they can do anything they set their minds to. Having these qualities instilled in our daughters from an early age can help us create a new generation of women who will stop at nothing to achieve their dreams.
What will you do to celebrate and elevate women this International Women’s Day 2020? Leave us some inspiration in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this blog, why not check out some similar posts:
- 5 Simple Yet Powerful Ways To Build Your Self-Confidence
- How To Navigate Self-Care & Prioritise Yourself During Motherhood
- 5 Realistic Daily Habits Inspired by Successful Women