Whether its women supporting each other in Congress, or women hearing each other out after a long day at work, there is something powerful about seeing and validating one another’s experience. Even the simplest act to show that another person understands what I am going through helps me and encourages me to keep calm and carry on. There is strength when women support each other even if the issues impacting our lives can be different.
Sexism impacts women differently depending on their identity and life experiences of race, socio-economic class, sexual orientation and other identities. Immigrant women, trans women, Black women, Latinas, this year I want to show up and support my peers whether the issue impacts my life directly or not. Women’s rights are not a singular issue but include and span Reproductive Justice, immigrant rights, police brutality, the wage gap, the school to prison pipeline, trans discrimination and all other issues impacting the lives of women and girls.
Popular culture would have us believe that women are catty, competitive, and not to be trusted. The reality is, everyday women show up for each other, support one another and when it counts fight for one another. Women give of themselves to their children, partners, and communities and exhibit leadership that rarely gets acknowledged or celebrated. Women and their contributions to historical movements are often rendered invisible. I celebrate teachers, I celebrate activists, I celebrate youth workers and foster parents and all the women who not only march on a single day but demonstrate everyday care in their communities.
I celebrate women from different generations. When I think about the struggles of my grandmother and mother and the sacrifices that they made so that I could live a better life, I feel gratitude and humility. Both the women in my family and friends in my life are people who help me to feel as if anything is possible and when I feel like giving up remind me of who I am and what I was put on this earth to do.
I would encourage you that if you do have close friends that are women, particularly women of color check in on them, encourage them, build them up. If you are seeking community and these types of friendships get plugged into local organizations that support women and girls. And lastly, show love to the young girls in our lives- be a mentor!
“We need to support the incredible, powerful women around us. We need to encourage that power. We need to delight in it. We need to make sure the power of other women is enjoyed and celebrated”- Shonda Rhimes