As we celebrate International Women’s Day, events buzz all across the globe showcasing achievements of women in different fields and inspiring further concerted action towards gender parity. Governments, industry, academia, non-profit organizations, community groups’, students etc. rally around to show solidarity with women’s causes on this day.
The simplest and perhaps the most befitting celebration would be for women to come together and support each other. To my mind, a much more effective way for women to realize their true potential would be the bonds that women create and nurture amongst themselves. It’s time to dispel the notion that two women can never be friends. Most high profile female leaders in Governments and big businesses proudly attribute their rise to supportive husbands and understanding families. Isn’t it time to break the stereotype and see women acknowledge the support of a female co-worker, a female mentor and so on?
Research shows that women are no longer the weaker sex. Women have accomplished great feats through sheer hard work, dedication and determination. As major contributors to society, women have challenged their limits and excelled in all fields. Similar to great women achievers abroad, there is a rich heritage of Indian women who have proven their mettle in all spheres – from brave warriors courageously defending States, renowned scholars expounding vedic philosophy, prominent politicians leading governments, famous diplomats heading missions and international organizations, soldiers’ bravely fighting on the front lines of war …. the list is long and the achievements truly stellar. In fact women have outlived men in times of crisis, famines and epidemics. The spirit of women is incredible and deserves a salute.
Despite the very best intentions, perhaps women treat each other poorly. With women still struggling to achieve gender equality in almost all areas, it makes little sense to harbour feelings of unnecessary envy and unhealthy competiveness. There is so much at stake and so much to achieve. There is more gain in becoming united than staying divided. It’s time to come together and support each other. The force of 'women for women' can unlock the potential of everyone. This change in our mind sets can have multiplier effects as women perform multifaceted roles in homes and offices. A mother in law can be the best companion for the daughter in law. Likewise for the sister in law. From stopping domestic violence and dowry harassment to ending human trafficking and heinous crimes against women, a woman wields immense power as an individual agent of change. Her courage and conviction can move mountains. Contributions by women in workplaces are as critical as that of their male counterparts. Rather than blocking each other's progress or feeling the perpetual fear of 'becoming insignificant' women can use their voices, leadership, energies, time and more in investing in each other. In boardrooms, let female voices come out in support of their female colleagues.
There are easy steps to begin lifting each other and becoming stronger together. Besides showing kindness, it is also about defending and standing up for each other and not passing snide remarks. It is important not just to form positive friendships with other women, but also positive professional relationships by sharing knowledge and not undermining other women’s efforts, learning and not criticizing, listening and not being judgmental, complimenting and not dissing, and above all celebrating each other’s happiness and accomplishments without feeling envious.
Amazing things can happen when women genuinely celebrate and support each other. Women are much more powerful together than alone, and when women choose to empower each other, they can be an invincible and unstoppable force for ever. Half of the toughest battles can be won by one act rooted in sisterhood. The future is female and it’s time for inspired investment, amplified voices and collective action as women together.