Why Women Need to Start Lifting Other Women Up
Feature Image: @goaldiggerpodcast
A month ago, while working on a marketing project for one of my clients, I pulled up the New York salary report. I was stunned to see that, on average, females with Master’s degrees earn $22,000 less a year than males with the same degree. And my first thought was why. Why is there inequality between men and women? Surely there are instances when privileged men degrade and disrespect women; however, what I realized, after some thought, was that women are guilty of treating women poorly, as well. In regards to this, there are different ways in which women ‘hate’ on each other, either through competition, putting each other down, or being distrustful of each other. Here I’m going to provide some examples of each of these scenarios and will, hopefully, highlight the problem women are currently faced with.
It is up to us to demand respect from men, and, to do this, we need to respect and support each other.
Scenario 1: Women competing with other women
The first experience I had with this type of inequality was in middle school when female teachers played favorites with the boys in my class. I thought high school would be different, but the male teachers I had also made it clear that he thought boys were superior in various ways. Male and female teachers alike unintentionally teach girls to view other girls as competition, instead of allies. It seems girls are bred to compete for everything, whether that be the hottest guy in class, the cutest handbag, the best makeup, or the highest grades. And this need to compete does not disappear with age. Women still compete with one another well into adulthood.
I was recently watching an interview of my favorite Russian comedian, Natalia Andreeva. She said that, during the early stages of her career, she was told she'd have a great future in comedy. Why? Because she is ugly and funny. She went on to say that successful female comedians must have flaws so that the women in their audiences don't feel jealous or threatened. This example shows that we are constantly evaluating and competing with other women, even if we are watching them on TV. We are programmed to prevent more attractive women to succeed in life, feeling threatened by them, instead of being inspired and motivated.
Scenario 2: Women being distrustful of other women
It’s also common for women not to trust other women. Instead, we trust men. (Why?) My husband and I recently visited a car show, one that highlighted the off-roading experience of Jeeps. And while I’m not proud to admit this, once I saw that one of the drivers was a woman, I secretly hoped to be put with another driver. A male driver. Naturally, she became our driver, and though I cognitively understood that she was a highly-qualified driving professional, I still worried every time she did an articulation or drove uphill. I didn’t trust her, and I couldn’t help it. And even though I consider myself to be an excellent driver and get offended when my husband makes jokes about my driving, I don’t feel comfortable having a woman taxi driver either.
Many women also request male gynecologists to deliver their babies over women gynecologists, or request male realtors over female realtors. (Again, why?) My best friend is an architect, and I often hear her complain about the infringement of women’s rights and how difficult it has been for her to advance in her field. Nevertheless, now that she’s searching for a home, she’s only working with male realtors. But in order for men to trust women, and to take our efforts in all aspects of life seriously, women need to trust women.
Scenario 3: Women degrading other women
Women can be extremely hard on each other, and I think this is, in part, due to how we were raised to compete with one another. If women are ‘too’ sexual, they’re label sluts. And if women are too opinionated or honest in the workplace, they might be labeled bossy or bitchy. But when men in the workplace are abrasive or have opinions, they’re considered leaders. And, by the way, stay-at-home mom shaming is still very much a thing. Rearing children is difficult, and women should not be shamed for making that choice. Whether a women stays at home with her kids or decides to focus solely on her career (or does anything in between), all women should be respected. And this respect needs to start with other women. We should be helping each other succeed in life, not tearing one another down. Lift other women up, bold babes.
The bottom line is…
I hope my recent examples caught your attention and inspire you to re-evaluate the behaviors that (unintentionally, of course) perpetuate the inequality between men and women. Next time you will want to put down, distrust, or compete with other women, take a deep breath and remember that womanhood is something to be proud of. Moreover, each woman embodies womanhood in a unique way.
We have been at a disadvantage throughout history, but that time is coming to an end. Now, it is up to us to demand respect from men, and to do this, we need to respect and support each other.