Women's Journal

Examples of powerful women supporting women

2 women laughing
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There’s something uniquely special about the bond between women who genuinely support, encourage, and champion each other. In a world that often pits women against one another, the power of female friendships and mentorship networks is a beautiful act of rebellion. It’s about smashing outdated stereotypes and creating a rising tide that lifts us all higher.

The Magic of Female Friendships

Let’s be honest, female friendships are a force of nature! They’re the people who celebrate your wins with genuine joy, even when they’re secretly a little envious. The ones who bring you wine and a listening ear when a relationship implodes or a work project goes sideways. They offer non-judgmental advice, push you outside your comfort zone, and remind you of your badassery when you’ve forgotten.

Studies consistently show that strong social connections are essential for both emotional and physical health. For women, female friendships offer a unique type of support. “Women understand the specific pressures we face – juggling career and family, battling sexism, societal expectations of how we should look and act,” explains a psychologist specializing in female relationships. “Having someone who just gets it is invaluable.”

While close friendships are about mutual support, mentorship has a touch more direction to it. Women who have further experience in a field can play a pivotal role in guiding those who are just starting out. It’s about sharing hard-won knowledge, advocating for junior colleagues, and creating opportunities when possible.

Sadly, the workplace can sometimes still be a breeding ground for the “queen bee” mentality, with a few women at the top leaving others to flounder. True mentorship flips that script. “Mentors remind us that there’s room for all of us to succeed,” says a young professional who credits a female mentor with boosting her career trajectory. “They show us what’s possible and help us navigate a path to get there.”

Overcoming Challenges of the “Boys’ Club”

Imagine trying to play a game where everyone else knows the rules, but they refuse to tell you. That’s what the “boys’ club” mentality can feel like in many workplaces. It’s not about overt discrimination (though that sadly exists too), but more subtle barriers women encounter that their male counterparts often don’t. From casual after-work socializing where important deals get hammered out to unconscious biases that make a woman’s voice seem less authoritative, there’s an uneven playing field.

That’s where female support networks come in. Sharing information is power. Discussing salary ranges takes away the secrecy that companies exploit to underpay women. Getting strategic about how to negotiate a raise or boldly ask for a promotion demystifies the process. And sometimes, the most empowering thing is simply venting to women who’ve experienced the same frustrations and can say, “Yup, that’s messed up, and you’re not imagining things.”

Informal networks can also break down the “old boys’ club” barriers. Those coffee meetings between women in finance become a chance to share hot stock tips and industry gossip. Female entrepreneurs cross-promoting each other on social media widens their audiences and strengthens their businesses collectively. It’s about creating alternative avenues for the kinds of information sharing and deal-making opportunities that have traditionally been male-dominated spaces. “When women collaborate instead of being forced to compete for limited scraps, it changes the game entirely,” observes a workplace equality expert.

“Empowered Women Empower Women”

It’s a phrase we see on inspirational posters, but it’s more than just feel-good fluff. There’s a ripple effect that happens when women actively support each other. Little girls see their moms hyping up their friends and start internalizing that this is normal, even expected, behavior among women. Young women entering a male-dominated field realize they have allies, not just competitors.

Challenging the “mean girl” stereotype is about more than just being nice, though that’s never bad! It’s about fostering an environment where ambition and kindness co-exist for women. Where success isn’t a zero-sum game, and where a woman reaching a top position uses her power to create space for others, not barricade the door behind her.

How to Build Your Support Squad

  • Seek Out Diverse Perspectives: Don’t limit your circle to women who look, think, or have the same career path as you. We learn the most from people who have different experiences and perspectives.
  • Be a Cheerleader and a Resource: Actively celebrate other women’s wins and offer practical help when you can. Did a female colleague nail a presentation? Tell her! Know of a job opening in her field? Share it!
  • Find a Mentor…and Become One: If you’re early in your career, seek out women further along who are willing to offer guidance. As you become more established, look for opportunities to mentor younger women in turn.
  • Use Online Communities: Don’t underestimate the power of online groups, either specifically focused on female mentorship, or those in your professional niche.
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