Women Supporting Women by Brenda J. Thomas Ph.D.

The Huffington Post and other media have published articles about women not supporting each other.  These women appear to be focused on their individual success but not the success of other women. In turbulent times like these when women’s rights and well-being are in peril in and out of the workplace it is imperative that women remain positive and look for action oriented solutions. Learning to be supportive of each other and to work well together is critical to success individually and collectively.

The issue of women not supporting other women has long been an issue yet research shows that when women begin to understand the importance of working together for a common goal they are more receptive and motivated to assist each other.  Once they acknowledge that they want to help improve the status of women they look for situations where they can demonstrate supportive behavior. They begin to speak up and model the behaviors that help other women.  The actions they take are not always complicated, they can be as simple as practicing good listening skills, giving encouragement and praise and sharing personal experiences. Jane Wurwand, in an article for the Huffington Post suggests that every woman has skills to share and wisdom to impart. She feels this sharing may take the form of tutoring, teaching or intervening in some way to support a woman in need.

Actions for Women Supporting Women
Listen without judgment.
Being a good listener is powerful.  How often have we not given our full attention when engaged in a conversation or made judgments about what was being said to us?  A better approach is to be present in the moment.  Resist the urge to multitask, stay focused on what is being said and provide objective nonbiased feedback.
Encourage and uplift.
It is easy to see shortcomings and flaws however it is more empowering to recognize and compliment others achievements.  Look for opportunities to uplift women.  When you are asked who would be a good candidate for a job consider women who have the appropriate skills and recommend them.
Give praise when it is warranted.
This is invaluable to one’s esteem and it doesn’t cost you anything.  Everyone likes to be recognized for the good work that they do.  Positive feedback can be just the push needed to help someone get to the next level.
Share successes.
We often fail to realize how important it is to share skills and experiences that can be of help to others.  What might seem trivial to you could be life changing to someone else. Maybe you are great at remembering the names of strangers you meet, have spectacular social media skills or write winning resumes. For someone who has difficulty in these areas mastering these skills can be critical to their achieving success.

These are only a few of the actions that can be taken to provide support.  I am sure that you can think of many others.  The challenge for all of us is to stay focused on issues impacting women, identify women to support and work together to achieve our collective goals.