Is it time for the sisterhood to show their true strength?
Recently a friend of mine lamented in a blog post that in the business world, while women are great at encouraging from behind (ie encouraging those higher up the ladder than them), they are not so good at doing it from the front. As she says:
“It’s as though once we’ve fought for it, got it, or had some degree of success, we want to hang onto it for dear life. So we cover our copybooks to ensure we stay on top.”
And this really struck a chord with me because it reflects something I have often considered a great irony with regard to my gender. We spend a lot of time demanding the world gives us the same respect and support it gives men, yet we often don’t exhibit this level of respect and support within our own ranks.
The deep dark secret of the sisterhood is that we can be our own worst enemies. Within families and mother’s groups, at school pickups and over coffee we talk behind each other’s backs, we pass judgement and we constantly question each other’s choices.
It is this last one that is so damaging. We hate the media for making us feel bad about the choices we make, but the reality is that often it is women starting the dialogue. And it is women who perpetuate it. We are full of angst for the men who marginalise our fair gender when the reality is that we’re doing a pretty good job of it ourselves.
There is so much strength in our gender and we have so much to offer that I can’t help but get frustrated when I see other women buying into divisive issues by making inflammatory blanket statements. I am as guilty of it as the next person and whenever I catch myself doing it I think “why do we accept this from each other – we should have stamped this out a long time ago!”
So I have decided to throw down a challenge to myself and to the sisterhood. Let’s get behind each other 100%. Let’s celebrate each other’s choices and pay homage to those who went before us – the ones who have given us the privilege of these choices.
Let’s gift each other understanding instead of judgement.
Unconditional support instead of smugness.
Let us say nothing about another woman that we wouldn’t say directly to their face.
Collectively, let us all reach a hand down from a higher rung and help pull each other up.
I firmly believe the day will come when women refuse to be divided and conquered from within and when that day does arrive, why, I believe the world won’t quite know what hit it.
Kelly Exeter is also the owner of The Smile Collective and each week she creates a new inspirational manifesto for the Smile blog. This week’s manifesto was inspired by the post above and if you click on the image below, you can download the free printable version.