It is really hard for women to rise up.
I’m not saying we can’t do it. I’m not negating all the women who have done it well. I am just saying it’s very hard.
Patriarchy is a real thing. We hear that word all the time and have grown desensitized, because we need to call it something but don’t know another word to use. Perhaps we can call it, “the-way-things-have-been-done-for-thousands-of-years,” but that word is a little long.
Because it is not just men who support patriarchy. It is women, too. And sometimes women are bigger supporters than men ever were. There are plenty of enlightened men who want the best for their daughters and sisters and wives, who want to see women succeed. Men who appreciate their female bosses and listen to the concerns of female friends. And there are plenty of women who dislike other women, and try to put a big net over them when they try to fly. Because another woman succeeding feels threatening to them, like all they gained could be taken away. Or another woman succeeding makes them second-guess their own life choices.
I’ve lived through enough at this point in my life to say, “It is difficult for women to rise up.” It has been difficult for me, because I’ve seen the orange cones at every step. I have tried to fulfill the needs of everyone else rather than my own, and it’s led me to a lot of barren places. I have buried the talents within me, because I wasn’t taught to believe in myself, and learned how only recently. So I recognize that it must be very hard for women less fortunate than I am to do great work. And it’s 2019. I thought things would be better by now.
These past two days I was at the BlogHer Conference Creators Summit in Brooklyn, New York, and I saw what the world could be like if it were run by women. Instead of competition and domination, it was about sharing, sharing, sharing. Here is what I did, and here is what you can do too. It was about lifting each other up, sharing tools and expertise, not hoarding it for fear someone else’s success takes yours away. It was a group of women who said, You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. I will do what I can to help.
It was women who said, Nothing is off the table for you. You have a seat right here, along with us. Come join.
This is not always how women have acted, or continue to act. Many women don’t know how deeply ingrained are the lessons that women are bad, conniving, superficial, and undeserving. They unknowingly teach this to the next generation. And that kind of thinking, that kind of believing, has got to stop.
Because going forward, with technology as it is, with our social climate the way it is, the thing we must stress most of all is community. It is about being in a circle, rather than a ladder with hierarchy. Everyone has to have a seat at the table, and actually, there are more seats now for those who have been shoved in the back. They get a turn.
We, women, we now get a turn.
And we’re not going back to picking up scraps. No, sir.
I am so grateful to organizations that make it an intention to build up and support women. Building up and supporting women doesn’t mean you dislike or discount anyone else. It just means you recognize an injustice has occurred, and you’re going to play the game differently. Building up women means take an axe to the damaging walls that have been built, toward seeing that surface crumble so people can move through. Building up and supporting women is about women who have chipped away at that high, high ceiling, and now they lift up new women on their shoulders so they can climb onto a new floor.
It is not always nonprofits or religious organizations who do good in this world. What I have seen is that there are so many people in the business world who are doing mental yoga all the time. They have developed an internal compass based on their own experiences, and one of their personal convictions is to help others. And they offer their time and advice and expertise freely so others can benefit, too.
Mostly, what I’m saying is, if you know a woman who needs a little bit of support, please give it to her. It doesn’t have to be financial, although that can certainly help sometimes. Mainly, what she needs is a little boosting, a little lifting up. A little celebrating her vision and her courage to dream. Give her your hands, and weave them together at the fingers, and let her place her foot in your palm, and begin to lift her.
In this regard, I am currently doing whatever I can.