Women are experiencing a time in our history where we are finally being heard.
We have marched nationally. We have worn hats named after our anatomy. We have become TIME Person of the Year. We have garnered national headlines with #MeToo. We are running for—and winning—elected offices in unprecedented numbers.
All of this progress is threatened, if we don't support each other.
There has to be a desire to create a society that isn't male dominated and is instead "safe" for the future female leaders. We have to stop with the jealousy and undermining behavior. We should be taking each other up the ladder to the top and holding the door OPEN to each other—not trying to gain leverage for just one of us.
A glass ceiling is bad enough. Don't make the hallway under that glass ceiling feel as though we're back in junior high school, with mean girls, judgment, comparisons, angst and hormones.
Can we get just one break—not simply a crack?
All of us are too busy changing lives, communities, corporations, nonprofits and parent-teacher organizations; having babies and breastfeeding kids; working during the day (and all night); sewing dance outfits; and managing juice boxes for Little Leagues and orange slices for soccer practice to use up precious energy sabotaging other women!
We are barely hanging on by the tattered threads of our business suits while hobbling through the streets in shoes too high to mention—no, they aren't comfortable—because we need to look good as well as be good.
A while back, one of our girlfriends came to us and mentioned that a recent incident at work had left her analyzing the approach she takes in working with others—and by others, we mean another woman in her corporation.
Our friend, despite saving her company millions of dollars, was removed from an area that is making progress for the first time in years, based on comments made by another woman about how "difficult" that friend is to work with.
Advice from her mentor—a vice president and 30-year business veteran—was discouraging and downright depressing.
"You may just have to play nice."
What?! Why should we have to "play nice"?
We imagine that this incident may have transpired quite differently if the gender was flipped.
Why can we not just be happy for the success of other women?
Jealousy, arrogance, insecurity.
Demeaning cutesy leadership books, speeches, podcasts and TV—you get the idea—related to gender.
As a gender, women struggle with confidence at an early age and, because of that, end up feeling jealous because of our own inadequacies.
It is time for us all to come together. It's time for us to:
- Celebrate each other's success.
- Encourage one another.
- Unsubscribe from the garbage.
- Join the army.
One of our favorite quotes is from Madeleine Albright, the first woman to have become U.S. Secretary of State: "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."
We couldn't agree more.
We are the ones changing the world with strategy, education and empathy.
We are going to keep getting things done and change the world for all the other bitches-to-be.
Support each other: The world depends on it.
We are special.
Kim Bode is a business owner, dog lover, wine drinker, coffee addict and blogger. Her 8THIRTYFOUR Integrated Communications in Grand Rapids is an award-winning communication strategy, event planning, social media, media relationship and design firm that is redefining how agencies do business. Contact her at [email protected].
Adrienne Wallace, an enthusiastic communicator with extensive public and private sector experience, is an integrated communications professional, a social-change leader, Grand Rapids Westsider, wife to tech/PR geek Derek DeVries, and mother to rescue pups Walter and Rosie.