Behind every successful woman, there is an army of others on her team rooting for her. Many realize this early on in life with their mom at the heart of their support system, but oftentimes there is a disconnect once they enter the outside world.
The thought of being inferior kicks in and competing with other women becomes an instinct rather than uplifting one another. This goes back at least to the 1900s when women had to compete to be considered for a job. It goes back further when women would be in competition for a high-ranking husband to secure a lifestyle and protection they were prohibited to create for themselves.
Jealousy is presumed to be a woman’s trait, along with the idea that women “hate” on one another because they feel as though they are subservient, but womanhood is not a monarchy; more than one queen can fit at the top.
The mindset that there can only be one creates a barrier that stops women’s progression. It is important that these myths are debunked and the narrative is reversed to shed light on the positivity that comes with sisterhood.
What everyone should understand is that women are better when they work together. Monique Jackson, a deputy director for the division of business and resource management in Washington D.C, explains the genuine relationships with the women in her life.
“I first learned about the benefits of sisterhood with my two biological sisters,” Jackson said.
“That understanding of and need for sisterhood transferred into my matriculation at Bennett College – an all women’s HBCU – and my initiation into one of the “divine nine” Greek sororities.”
Women today are advancing and taking on more leadership roles. According to Fortune, which ranks America’s largest companies, the number of women CEOs running fortune 500 companies increased to 8.1% in 2021.
Imagine the rate that these numbers could increase by if all women in prominent positions mentored other successful women and lifted up other women to follow in their footsteps.
Supporting women-owned businesses across all industries can help as well; not just the hairstylist and eyelash techs. There are many businesses outside of the beauty realm that a lot of people do not know have women CEOs. It is common to see fathers pass down their businesses but we have to start rallying behind our mothers and help them to create generational wealth for their offspring too.
Lillian Elise, a single mother of two, says that calling the women in her life “supportive” would be an understatement.
“I’ve always had a tight circle of female friends in my life that I consider my sisters. Having that love from at least one other woman in your lifetime is a gift from God,” Elise said.
Networking to find these connections only works if you are doing it right. For men, it is mainly about collecting business cards and sharing laughs at the dinner table. For women it is a tad more difficult. Instead of thinking of networking as a responsibility and power moves, think of it as building long term bonds. Create genuine relationships with other successful women. Just being surrounded by like-minded individuals who share the same values can increase the opportunities for growth.
Daijah Guns, a recent graduate from Florida A&M with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, works in cosmetology and is the CEO of her own makeup line.
“To see women defying certain odds, especially knowing how hard it can be, it’s important for those women to know that they have an entire force of girl power standing behind them and I believe that is a part of what makes successful women go 10 times harder,” Guns said.
People typically honor the love and support they receive from others who understand what it took to get there. It is common for women to be more receptive to constructive criticism from other women who may share similar struggles and understand the obstacles it takes to obtain respect in a male dominated industry.
Rebecca Wiser, cofounder and director of communications at Womaze, an app centered on self-empowerment for women, told Forbes that inspiring leaders help others rise.
“Build other women up! If you see your co-worker doing a great job, give them credit … tell your boss or other co-workers,” Wiser said. “At first it may seem like you’re taking attention away from yourself, but you’re actually showing that you’re a supportive team player —and secure enough in yourself to praise others.”
This concept elaborates on the impact public praise has on women who collaborate. It is always inspiring to see women publicly give other woman their flowers.
Being a woman comes with a lot and no one understands that more than another woman. Having that sisterhood and genuine companionship creates a support system that is truly unmatched.