The Woman Code
Do women support each other as much as men do? We are starting to see women vocalizing their struggles in the workplace, stating that it’s so much harder to get ahead of their male counterparts. When these studies are done, many people ask why it is so. Some argue that men should understand that women have always been behind, and that patriarchy is alive and well. But what if the key lies in the fact that women don’t support each other as much as they should?
We see it everyday. On reality television you can’t go without seeing women tear each other down and broadcast to their friends (the term “friend” used very loosely here) and to the world their disdain for someone they see all the time. In real life, oftentimes we are surrounded by women who make you wonder where their loyalties lie. Is it a matter of trust? Or is it something deeper?
An interesting concept that isn’t often brought to this discussion is socialization. From early in their lives, boys are taught to work in teams, and usually with people that they don’t know well at first. If you think about it, boys are usually thrown into football, baseball, soccer, and the like, forcing them to learn how to create these bonds with multiple people while doing what they like at the same time. On the other hand, girls often times keep to themselves and are in the company of their closest friends, creating a sense of intimacy and balance. When an additional female is added to this circle, the dynamic is changed, oftentimes causing in-fighting. Obviously these challenges can be overcome with maturity, but when one is not groomed to really work as a team it’s somewhat challenging to deal with once in a group setting.
So are we doomed? Not quite. The truth of the matter is that with a little bit of maturity and drive, we can all support each other and achieve things that we could never do by ourselves. And if you don’t quite believe that, there are plenty of reasons why helping each each other will do SOME kind of good:
1. Networking relationships aren’t just relationships, they are investments. Although Sally is an Administrative Assistant today, what you may not know is that she’s finishing up her degree just in time for an upcoming promotion. People are constantly growing and building themselves up to be great. Over time, they may be able to help you in ways that you couldn’t have ever imagined.
2. Your network will grow upward. This really just ties in with number one, but men have been doing this forever. They’ve been asking each other for favors over rounds of golf and cigars because to be honest, people look out for other people.
3. Women don’t forget. If we can remember the one time our boyfriend forgot to add mayo to our sandwich two months ago, how can we forget when a friend extended a helping hand to us when we needed it? Chances are we won’t, and oftentimes, the favor is returned in an unexpected way.
4. It reduces stress. And who stresses more than us?! In fact, guess how our brains would LIKE for us to deal with stress? Bonding with other people. When we stress our bodies release oxytocin, which triggers an immediate desire to seek and maintain relationships.
I could list more, but at the end of the day it’s just the right thing to do. Lots of good things happen when we support each other. So how do we support our fellow women? Well there are many ways. Firstly, let’s promote each other. It’s good to mentor, and it’s often needed, but it’s influence that can take a person far. When you’re in a position to lift someone up, do it. It’ll help them, and make you look good too. Secondly, we can cut each other some slack. Women in higher up positions can’t always work miracles. On the other hand, junior women can only see what executives are willing to show them. By making an effort to understand each side of the fence, we can cultivate healthy network relationships. Lastly, let’s hold each other accountable. There’s no need to be a “mean woman.” Let’s make an effort not to glorify being mean to each other, because it doesn’t get us anywhere. With the help and support of each other, we can all be something great and reach our full potential. Take the first step by attending the Digital Empowerment Mastermind: Empowerment Luncheon and Workshop for women in South Carolina. Seats are limited and you must pre-register to enter, visit them online at www.digitalempowermentlive.com Lets raise the bar!
By: Chynnah Tomlin