Many are calling 2018 the “Year of the Women.” More women are running for office than ever before, we’re out in the streets (literally) advocating for causes we believe in, and just generally demanding our voices and opinions be heard. However, for the seemingly-ordinary women, there can be a sharp discourse between what we see on the news and read on social media about the skyrocketing successes of women and what we see in everyday life.
For those of us not running for office and not marching in the streets, how do we advocate for ourselves and the women around us on a day-to-day basis?
The idea of mentoring can sound somewhat cliché at times. However, mentoring doesn’t have to be difficult, cheesy, or time-consuming. Mentoring can look as simple as showing a new employee the ropes or offering guidance on a certain topic. We often envision mentors as being appointed and requiring blocks of scheduled time to offer serious, one-on-one advice. If you stop and think about it, those you may consider mentors in your life were probably just coworkers or superiors with whom you found commonalities and admired. We often become so consumed with checking off our own to-do list, we don’t stop and “help the next one in line,” even if it’s just in a small way.
Sometimes we forget there’s not a limited amount of success available. There’s plenty for everyone. While we’re busy climbing the ladder, let’s not neglect to create opportunities, whenever possible, for our female colleagues climbing their own ladder. We may not all be in a position to directly hire or promote the females in our office, but we can all amplify the ideas of our female colleagues and praise her good work to other coworkers and supervisors. If you’re in a managerial position, you can make sure to be privy to the goals of your female employees and create opportunities for her to show off her skills.
Lead by Example
There’s a reason our parents told us over and over again to “be a good example.” Each one of us contributes to the overall culture of the companies for which we work. Every time we bad-mouth another female colleague, underestimate her ability, or write off another female professional, we make it ok for those around us to do the same. If we all consciously uplift the other women in our workplace, it creates a more positive workplace culture for women.
We won’t all become CEOs, Chairperson of the Board, or Congressmen, but we’re all in a position to make a difference in the culture around us and promote other women while chasing our own dreams. We do this with self-awareness and persistence. After all, the biggest difference is often made in the small, day-day encounters that most don’t see.