Supporting Each Other on the Uphill Battle

I don’t want to be a housecleaner, taxi driver, school volunteer, partner, friend, career woman, chef and family organizer. However, if you do, I will support you completely without judgement.

Some women stay home, or work part-time, others work full time or more than full time. Sometimes our partners help out around the house, but often they do not.

The opportunities and choices we make every day are endless: what we eat, wear, say and how we say it, what we choose to do or not to do. One of the things I like most about being female are the choices I can make, but where can that go wrong?

I spent the better part of a year working with an incredible CEO who is smart, inspirational and a visionary. She is also the mother of two young children and the leader those of you with tough bosses dream of. While she was making great strategic decisions, sharing her vision and asking for the input of the managers, senior leaders and the board, her employees were talking about her for all the wrong reasons.

They did not discuss what a breath of fresh air she was or how thankful they were to finally be involved in the vision for the organization. They talked about her hair, her clothes, the way she talked, stood and how she sometimes left early on Friday to catch one of her children’s games. Who were these people? 90% of the employees in the organization are female. They are mothers, daughters and wives themselves.

Often women cannot tolerate the success of other women. When I speak to clients, colleagues and friends, the occurrence is far from unusual. If you are female you have probably been a perpetrator, victim or accomplice. Maybe you are listening to it happen and remaining silent. What a shame and a loss for opportunity.

Here’s my call to action:

If you are advanced in your career, offer to mentor an up-and-coming woman. If you are new or have high aspirations – ask a woman you admire to be your guide or engage a leadership coach who specializes in helping women advance their careers.

Lastly, if you hear women talking about other women, suggest that they use their energy to offer support instead. We all face an uphill battle every day. Women need to be able to depend on one another for verbal support (in public and in private), honest feedback, a voice of reason and a helping hand.

– Melissa