Thursday, 18 August 2016

Support the women in your life

As we continue to celebrate Women's Month, it's a good time to focus on the glue that binds not only women but people together – solidarity. This can mean many things to different people, from active participation to silent support. However, what I'd like to highlight are some of the ways that we can show solidarity with each other by inspiring and supporting the women in our lives.

First, look at yourself

There's nothing so humbling as taking a good long look at ourselves. It's also terribly important that we do this if we are to live and act with integrity. What we also find when we honestly know ourselves, is that we develop more empathy. We recognise where we have fallen short, and can imagine how it must feel for others. This can help us to identify more with other people, and be more supportive of the women around us, rather than being judgemental.

The other benefit of this is that it allows us to recognise your own prejudices and biases. Once we recognise these we can work towards eliminating them.

Support, rather than compete

We should all, hopefully, realise that in our modern society we are still working to overcome centuries of patriarchy and that one of the effects of this is that women usually have to work harder for fewer places at the top than do men. This obviously creates more competition.

However, it's vitally important that, as we compete for career opportunities, we don't adopt a constantly competitive attitude towards the women with whom we work. There is always plenty of room to be supportive of our colleagues, even if it means giving them the glory. An attitude like this will pay more dividends in the long run, not least because it will make you more persuasive and effective with the people around you.

Show appreciation

There are few things as inspiring as feeling that we are appreciated. That what we have said or done was worthwhile, and acknowledged as such by others. On the one hand, it's a stroke for the ego, of course. On the other, it's an important part of self-validation.

This gives the simple act of showing appreciation a very powerful effect – one that we should try to use as much as we can. This can range from a simple thank you to a bunch of flowers or a glowing endorsement in an email.

Learn from each other

These days we rely on the education system so much, along with corporate and other training, that we start to forget that each one of us can be a teacher to someone else. Passing on skills, wisdom, tips and tricks from one person to another is still the most effective way of developing knowledge and ability. So let's take every opportunity we can to pass on our own knowledge and skills to each other.

Take and promote accountability


This might not seem like an obvious way to inspire people but bear with me. When we learn to take accountability for our lives, we start to feel more self-empowered and in control. Not only that but when we feel an accountability to other people, we tend to think and act in more community-spirited ways. Lastly, having other people to whom we are accountable gives us a source of objective opinions about our performance and development.

So let's encourage each other to be accountable for ourselves in all aspects of our lives, and help to serve as accountability barometers for each other.

How do you support the women in your life? Tell us here, or tweet us on https://twitter.com/EduloanSA

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