“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” ― Madeleine Albright
I usually write about career topics that affect both men and women.
However, I think it’s important to call out the amazing strides women are making in the workplace and beyond right now, but also address how we’re in danger of losing our momentum.
In the past few years, there have been amazing triumphs. Three in particular come to mind:
- Facebook COO Sheryl Sanberg’s extremely popular book, Lean In, brought to light many ignored issues around workplace inequalities, but also served as a rallying cry for women to take control of their careers and lives. As a result, she inspired a generation to take a seat at the table, ask for more and know their value.
- Actress Jennifer Lawrence addressed equal pay in her essay featured in Lena Dunham’s newsletter, Lenny Letter, where she discussed the astounding wage gap in Hollywood after learning about her male co-star’s salaries. In effect, her essay has challenged women in Hollywood and beyond to demand salaries that reflect their value.
- Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff made history when his company spent about $3 million in 2015 to match female employees’ salaries to those of their male counterparts. Just as Salesforce has led the way in cloud computing, it’s dedication to equality in the workplace will hopefully serve as a model for other companies in the years to come.
Women are also taking on leading roles outside the workplace.
In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we were introduced to the franchise’s first female protagonist, Rey, who proved she was just as badass (if not more) than her male counterparts. My favorite line of hers was, “I know how to run without you holding my hand!”
Bringing it closer to home, I’ve been seeing more of my female friends doing things you typically see men doing. I know women who build their own furniture, write their own code, play (and understand) football, have engineering degrees and black belts in Karate.
Needless to say, there have been countless examples of women realizing their full potential and going for what they deserve in recent years.
However, I’m scared we might hit a wall. It’s not because I think men will get in our way; I think other women will.
Over the years, I’ve been a part of many different teams; both male heavy and female heavy. They both have pros and cons, but I definitely feel more on edge when I’m working with other women.
When women feel insecure, jealous or overlooked, they tend to tear each other down. Also, many of us feel there are only so many places at the top, so we fight to make sure there’s a spot for us when we get there. It happens in high school and it’s still happening in high rises.
I’m no exception.
I’ve definitely talked negatively about female coworkers because I’m jealous or insecure about my own performance. We’ve all done it, both men and women, but I think it’s more apparent among women because we feel like we have more to prove to get ahead.
We can’t have this attitude anymore.
We shouldn’t tear other women down just because they got promoted faster or received an awesome opportunity. Instead, put that energy into advancing your own career, while helping and encouraging others along the way.
I have been lifted up by many amazing women throughout my career. If they hadn’t given me that kindness, support and encouragement, I’m not sure I would be so driven and accomplished in my career today.
I truly believe if women are nicer and more supportive of each other, we will all get where we want to go a lot faster.
Do you think women are getting in their own way?