My wish for all women on this planet today is that we learn and begin to practice daily one very important “woman code” and that is this: We must lift other women as we ourselves climb. It is a phrase I first heard as a teenage girl, and one that I never forgot. On this day of international celebration of what it means to be a woman, and on this day “without a woman”, I want to encourage women to begin to respect one another. We are often our own worst enemies, critics and competition. The worst career experiences I have had in my life came at the hands of other women, or black men. For women of color we always joke that we get the burdens of both “race and gender” but neither of the benefits of being a man or Caucasian. It is important that we begin to discuss the complexities of gender discrimination and bullying by other women on other women. It happens. A lot.
Men simply are not reared as we are with all of the body shaming, and image—self-esteem challenges. We are still raised as girls to see other women as competition versus being natural allies and supporters. We would rather “work with men” we say out-loud. Or we “just don’t do women” we snort sarcastically. We treat other women as if they, like us, don’t have shortcomings, and flaws just as men do. We forgive men their sins readily and routinely, yet we hate on another woman for life for doing the exact same thing or far less. Or we decide we don’t like another woman when she walks into a room. She’s too pretty. Too smart. To thin. Too outspoken. We do each other in more than we don’t and for me that is what I want to help women change before I breathe my last breath someday. My prayer for us today as women is that we will be women that practice the following codes and virtues:
- We will lift each other as we climb the ladder of life and success.
- We will cover each other when we need support and covering in and out of the work place.
- We will stop gossiping about other women and tearing them down.
- We will be women that other women can indeed trust.
- We will serve as mentors and sponsors to younger women as they start their lives.
- We will deal with the unspoken discrimination of women by other women who do not look like them, share their class, education, religion or skin color.
We can march, and we can boycott, but what we need to be focused on is how we help other women as we ourselves need to be helped. That has got to be what we reflect upon on a day like this. Doing something for each other. Opening doors for each other. Investing in each other. Building up and praying for each other. And lifting each other as we climb.