I’m usually extremely reticent about participating in social media photo “challenges” mostly because I don’t see the challenge in them. Having said that, I had several people invite me to join the #ChallengeAccepted, a few of them are women I have immense affection and respect for. In addition, everyone is pretty revved up about women supporting women, so I figured it’s probably a good time to share a few thoughts about what this idea could really look like, for us ladies.
Truth be told, it’s common for women to be the ones pulling one another down, be it for one’s looks, intellect, marital status, life choices or success. It stems from a sense of insecurity, appetite for gossip, and of course, deep conditioning. It’s a long discussion, but here’s how I think we can actually be supportive in our own big and small ways.
1. Show up for other women, emotionally and physically. Be there for them in their times of need and offer general support through life’s ups and downs. Lend an ear, a shoulder, or a pair of hands when needed. Check-in with them, even if it’s just via text.
2. Be friendly and kind to women outside of your circle. Even ones who are strangers. Simple gestures like a smile or a greeting, a compliment, some friendly banter with the lonesome, new lady at a party, or an awkward colleague -- it all adds up to creating a supportive ecosystem between women.
3. Support women’s endeavours, be it small businesses, volunteer projects, events, even a bake sale!
4. Create environments for women to thrive. I
t could be by sharing their inspiring stories, inviting them into the limelight through talks and webinars, or organising book clubs, or “safe space” meet-ups (not snarky kitty parties) where they can openly share their experiences and have focused meaningful discussions.
5. Discard secrecy as it creates mistrust. Talk openly about stuff, be it your ambitions, insecurities, face jobs, successes and failures. Sharing experiences makes us feel more supported, and therefore more empowered.
6. Say no to objectification (of yourself and others) and don’t judge yourself, or others, based on looks alone. Don’t fall for all the ageist, sexist cacophony that’s meant to drown your individuality and self-worth. Support other women who are not conforming to gender stereotypes, or at least, don’t trash them.
7. If you have a daughter, support her dreams, encourage her to be self-reliant, and don’t pressure her into matrimony or motherhood until she is ready.
8. Stop using the terms like “home breaker” and blaming or shaming a woman who is caught in an affair with a married man. If he’s the one who is married, he’s the one to shoulder the blame and the labels. And stop slut-shaming.
9. If you are in a position to hire women, go all out and bring them into the workplace. Give them the same pay, the same opportunities, the same support, the same respect.
10. Speak up and support women who don’t have a voice. What do you think? Can you give it a real shot and support other women in even 3 of the above ways? #challengeaccepted ?
Side note: This image was taken in Spiti Valley. The rays of the Himalayan sun were actually falling the way they are in the pic (that's not an effect), and I was out for a picnic with my young nun and monk friends. It was one of the happiest afternoons, and the women kept us in splits with their amazing wit and spirit. #challengeaccepted #healinghideaway #bindiyamurgai #mentalhealth #mentalhealthadvocate #womensupportwomen #counselling #speaker #webinars #lifecoach #mindfulness #mindfulnesstraining