Our founder, Ria, explains what it really means to support a woman.
Truly, I find being a woman, surrounded by women a privilege.
I think it’s the case of so many marginalised identities that they find strength in community. I wouldn’t say this was my intention in the relationships I’ve formed with women in my life, but it’s certainly been a beautiful bi-product. Does it feel almost cliché to talk about celebrating the women in your life now? Perhaps. But I think the concept of supporting the women in your life and what that really means is something worth unpacking.
Supporting women looks like creating safe spaces.
Because it can be worryingly easy to look around and see a lack of comfort and ease in the company you keep. Inherently, we think of ourselves first and foremost, quite naturally. But have you ever noticed just how phenomenal it is when someone holds space for you unexpectedly? When they ask how you’re really doing? When they follow up on that tension fuelled meeting? When they check in weeks and months after the event without a prompt? When they just remind you that you can simply exist in their presence, no questions asked? That’s the creation of a safe space because you understand the limits, restrictions and intricacies of the specific experience of being a woman.
Supporting women is taking them as they are.
Remembering their wins, supporting their losses and appreciating their mediocrity. Showing up for a woman when they’re not doing anything different is a beautiful stroke of innocence I think. In a busy world, it makes sense that we make time for the catastrophic or the unexpected, but what about the totally mundane? What about the, you’ve consistently existed as you are and I think you’re wonderful because of it. After all, women should never have to achieve anything to be described as ‘powerful’ or ‘inspirational’ or god forbid ‘strong’. You come as you are, you exist authentically and in a world like this I think that’s more than anyone can ask of you.
Supporting women means showing up for them.
After all, those with power listen more seriously when it comes from their own kin.
Blast their LinkedIn post, call out the interruptions, the judgement and stereotypes. Don’t go silent for them to fight the battle single handedly, examine your own perpetuated bias, engage in their world, topics and experiences. Read deeply and widely and appreciate the spectrum and nuance of the woman. Ask them the difficult questions, make your apologies and engage in their events. Shout from the rooftops on their wins, be present in their losses and be consistent in their every day. Have a hand in a world you’d want your partner, child, parent, sibling and friend to live safely in. Show them gratitude, communicate your appreciation and allow them to basque in your admiration. Ask their opinion, ask them why and why again. Listen to them openly, be excited for what you might learn and fight for their equal existence. Think about what you learn from them and how they better you. Communicate why you appreciate them and notice what they provide for you. If you love the opportunities and nuance of your own experience, question how and where a woman experiences it differently. Question why. And what hand you have in changing that.
Kindness is a rare thing after all, but it doesn’t need to be.
I don’t think this list is limited. But I believe supporting a woman is far more than congratulating them on a societal win. It’s appreciating them in their full condition, in whatever conditions they’re existing in. Listening, leaning in and growing.
How wonderfully enriched your life will be, I promise you that much.