As a woman, here are my two cents on this International Women’s Day! It is unfair to put all the burden on men to empower women. In my opinion, even when some women talk about equality, they are still subconsciously carrying thoughts of comparison and damaging competitiveness with other women. As a mindful exercise, we need to scan our minds and actions to see if we inadvertently have such feelings when interacting with other women.
You can start with simple mindfulness of your emotions and energy around other women or while thinking about them. To visualize, imagine a successful woman who gossips about other women with her male partner. If another woman is doing better than her in any avenue of life, then she will find faults in her out of jealousy while having a drink with her male partner. Here’s another negative picture, if a woman is going through some health issues, then another female coworker will “help” her by surprisingly taking over her coworker’s tasks without discussing them with her to show their leader that she is not productive. Or, when you complimented a woman on her purse, did you have a feeling of jealousy or did you compare yourself to her?
Where is the change needed the most?
It has to start at the grassroots level – in women’s minds and hearts. It is not easy to shed centuries-old belief systems. However, you can try it even with minor things, like if a woman is standing on the wrong side of the line at a cafe, politely guide her to the right side. Maybe you can take a genuine interest in learning about a woman’s interests while also sharing with her about your own so that it can help you both to build a good rapport with each other. Or, if you like a woman’s outfit, you can give her an appropriate compliment without any comparison or judgment of her body size.
Change starts with us. We need to support the right things, even if that means supporting another woman and not supporting a man you know. Some men help other men even when they are wrong. Generally, men easily buddy up with other men, and they are not concerned about what women think, even when a man is unjust. Therefore, women need not worry about what men will think of them.
Here’s is a beautiful quote worth sharing, “Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown without telling the world that (it) is crooked. … Be kind! We never know the battle others are fighting. I hope that we can all find a way to lead with an open heart and assume positive intent.” – Leslie Littlejohn
Celebrate your sisterhood with other women every day. Will you be there for other sisters and show the world how beautiful and robust sisterhood can be?