My rules for how to close the equality gap are acknowledge, advocate, and appreciate. So, how do we advocate for all the kick-ass women in our lives?
For starters, don't use the b-word!
I've been wanting to write about the b-word for awhile now. I've been called a bitch more times than I can count. I've said the word more times than I count. I've heard it out of the mouths of women and men, strangers and family, friends, lovers, everybody.
I think I used to say it to strengthen the relationship between me and the men in my life. If I called another woman a bitch I was somehow safe, somehow cool, somehow edgy - whatever my crazy mind was thinking.
Then came a point where I started to speak my mind a little bit more, and that's when I started hearing the word directed at me. And for awhile it was fuel. I would hear it and I'd get fired up and say some nasty things.
It wasn't until my junior of college where it really started to bother me. I had a roommate who would call me a bitch anytime I would confront somebody or speak my mind or own being a woman. She said it a lot – too much really, and eventually it started to eat away at me. So one day I had to tell her to stop calling me a bitch – that I didn't like the word and that I didn't want to hear her say it in my presence. I advocated for myself!
That experience made me think about what I say around and about other women. It's not really just about the b-word. It's about any word. It's about doing the best we can to not bring others down, especially with mindless language. Is there a word that bothers you or others you know? Stop using it.
It's not just about decreasing negativity, but also about increasing positivity. Any opportunity you get, point out how awesome your women friends and family are. Say it to her, to her boss, to her spouse, to her coworkers, to whomever. Pay attention to all the amazing things that people you care about are doing and point them out to the people who matter just in case they aren't paying attention. Give credit where credit is due and say nice things! Speak up however you can!
It is often the case that we women don't have each others backs. Take away the negativity, try to speak up for the other women in your life, and try to give and receive (yes, receive!) as much support as you can. In order to close the gap, we need to make sure that we and others aren't going around unnoticed, and that when we are we've got enough support to get back up and try again.
How do you advocate for the women in your life? Has anyone ever advocated for you? Where do you find support? Tell me your experience!