Don Draper said in a Mad Men episode, “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”
Let’s change the conversation about women not helping each other.
When I speak at leadership conferences for women, I’m often asked, “Why are women so catty to each other?”
“In my opinion, every time we ask or answer that question, we perpetuate that negative stereotype. We do not help our cause when we label each other and call each other names. If our goal is to support each other, it’s time to change this narrative.”
Here’s how we can do that.
If someone says “Why are women so catty to one another,” or any variation on that theme, do not repeat the unwanted accusation or assumption. Every time we do, we imprint and perpetuate the very thing we don’t want.
It’s like telling kids, “Don’t run round the pool” or “Don’t forget your backpack.”
What are they going to do? Run around the pool and forget their backpack.
Instead, say, “You know what I’ve found? I’ve found women to be amazingly supportive of one another. In fact …” and then share a specific example of how a woman has mentored or championed you.
The only way to reverse this toxic perception is to stop complaining about it and create a new story about how women elevate and celebrate one another.
We have a perfect opportunity to do that this Sunday, March 8, International Women’s Day.
I hope EVERYONE reaches out to a woman who has encouraged, educated or inspired them.
Say “Thank you.” Express exactly what this person did or said to make a positive difference for you. And then continue to honor that person by sharing that story with others.
Each of us can contribute to a “rising tide raising all female boats” by choosing to showcase the wonderful things that happen when women help women.
[This post also appeared in the Huffington Post here]