Women supporting each other demands for more than just slogans. We need to be attentive in how we talk about each other and see how we are a part of something bigger—where there is room for everybody.
I often find myself reflecting upon the notion that women can be each other’s biggest obstacles, also when talking about feminism and support of other women. One should not generalize, women are not one group—we are individuals with different opinions, experiences and ambitions. And women do not, based on the sole fact of being women, have a responsibility to blindly support other women. Yet, we do have a responsibility not to make it more difficult for each other by mean comments and envy.
I seem to return to this particular issue quite often, because it surprises me how women still seem to have a pettiness towards other women, a need to label women as masculine if their focus is on career and not the home, if they are outspoken, or simply if they do not adhere to the typical qualifications that society has decided should define a woman. We are masters at creating networks, shouting slogans about sisterhood and feminism and equality from the rooftops, but are we really acting the way we preach? Generosity towards each other is not just something women should think about, it regards everybody. However, in this particular piece, being a passionate feminist, I would like to address what could be seen as rules of engagement between women—for us to be better towards each other.
Mean words become worse each time you repeat them.
I believe a lot of us are guilty of both mean comments with the intent of talking ill, but even more so the comments that are not ill-intentioned, just plain unthoughtful. When talking about female leaders, we are quite often quick at allowing for more personal issues to define her. Judging her becomes a personal issue, not a professional issue. And because grown people know that they should not plainly talk random dirt, a common phrase follows after repeating dirt about a person: It’s not my opinion, I am just saying that’s how a lot of people feel.
Well, let me say this: each time you repeat these words that other people supposedly feel, you give more life and more truth to whatever dirt that you supposedly do not concur with. Silence is the remedy to an evil tongue.
Look ahead, but don’t pull up the ladder behind you.
In this week’s Insight, we have an in-depth interview with Anita Krohn Traaseth. I have personally looked up to her as a woman and a leader, daring to challenge existing role models and outdated believes about women and career. She urges women to look towards leadership. Are women capable of seeing themselves as leaders in the same way as men, and if not—we will have to learn how to so. But leadership is not about one person, and as Anita so pointily adds in this interview: “The gender equality project is still fragile.” Women simply cannot afford not to close the door behind them. Paving the way for other women is not an obligation, but for the women strong enough to do so, it is the right thing to do.
There is room enough for everybody.
The irony that lies in the feminist movement, is that there is not a lot of room for discourse. Women are quite eager to point out the flaws or shortcomings of other women confessing to the same ideals. Unfortunately, I believe that we can all be better at including diverse opinions, passions and initiatives and see all of the efforts made, as a true willingness to make the world a little bit better, all in our own way.
I am thrilled to have such exciting people—both women and men, featured in this week’s Insight. They are all a true inspiration in how we move forward in creating more diversity and equality for all.
Editor in Chief
SHE Community’s Insight Magazine