Girls must support one another. In the words of Gretchen Wieners, “I mean, that’s just, like, the rules of feminism!” Of course, she wasn’t exactly discussing the importance of women backing other women, but never mind that. Focus instead on the monumental effects of this support system. I like to think of the ways we can support one another in three categories: Personal, economic, and political. By keeping in mind these simple avenues in which we can back our sisters, we can revolutionize anything, from our friendships to our government.
Personal support is focused on the individual, which can often make it the most difficult. An easy first step? Refuse to indulge in Girl Hate. Pushing women to hate each other distracts us from the sexism of society. Unfortunately, filling girls with a sense of superiority towards their sisters is a highly prevalent action that has dire consequences. Men use this act to justify their own hatred of women, by arguing that they aren’t doing anything different from us. It still doesn’t make it right, but it does bring up the valid point that we ought we embrace and empower one another. Don’t tear down your sisters for their choices regarding appearance, relationships, or any other aspect of their lives that does no harm to you or others. This is cruel, sinful, and detrimental to our fight for respect (tragic as it is that we must fight).
Rejecting Girl Hate is fantastic, but you mustn’t stop there. Aim to empower other women through compliments, kind gestures, and more. Don’t rob someone of a compliment- you never know how badly they might need it. Even if their need for a boost isn’t dire, no one is upset by a genuine offering of praise. It only takes a second to applaud a girl’s innovative idea, but that gesture might make a lifetime of difference.
When women drive up to 80% of all consumer-purchasing decisions, why is it that there are only 5% of Fortune 500 companies that have female CEO’s? Women drive the economy, and it is our duty to use that power to support one another. Concentrate on directing your income to female (or minority) run companies when at all possible. We have the power to drastically alter the economy and the role of women within it. This ties into the importance of equal pay. The greatest economic decision we could ever make is to invest in women. Putting more money into our (absurdly small) pockets, in turn puts more money back into the global economy. Although women still make less than their male counterparts, we can utilize what we make to empower one other and grow female-run businesses.
No, I’m not saying that you are required to vote for every single female candidate running for office regardless of their political views. In fact, I’m possibly asking the opposite! Empower women politically by voting for statutes that benefit women, even at the risk of voting for a male candidate over a female one. Elect officials who will back important issues such as equal pay and maternity leave. Even if you wouldn’t personally benefit from such implementations, consider those that will.
If you are discouraged by the idea of electing even more male politicians, take heart! It is true that only 19.4% of Congress, 21% of the U.S. Senate, and 19% of the U.S. House is female, but this can be changed. Encourage your fellow women to run for office. Aid those who are already in the midst of campaigns. Perhaps even make a run yourself! Resources such as http://www.sheshouldrun.org are incredibly beneficial in any of these circumstances. When so many women-centric issues are at the front of politics, it is essential to champion those who will fight for these issues.
I recently bought a Friday+Saturday tee from Riffraff (an all female business!) emblazoned with “Babes Support Babes”. It may be a bit simple and even a bit silly, but the point is crystal clear. We, as women, have a duty to support one another in any and every way possible. This support must be made visible in our personal, economic, and political actions. Be a champion for your sisters and the reward will be greater than any trophy. And as for the impact, well, you wouldn’t even believe it.