#FeministMondays | Women Need To Have Each Other’s Backs

Women Need To Have Each Other’s Backs | Credit | Liderina via Shutterstock

 

How hard is it for women to support other women?

 

Women need to have each other’s backs. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Makes a lot of sense too. We women, no matter which part of the world we belong to, almost always face the same adversaries, variations of the same at best. That we fight the same sexist mindsets too is also a widely known fact. We women suffer due to the same policies or the lack of the same thereof. And then we also battle the systems which are hell bent on showing us our place. We are hurt and written off by the same misogynist mindsets. What’s more, we face the same threats, in varying degrees, but the same almost always. So, it should really be a no-brainer that we women need to have each other’s backs. We, women, need to stick together. But do we?

 

Sometimes, yes. Maybe often too. But not always.

 

Women should support other women. Always.

 

Look at how many women in India suffer at the hands of their mothers-in-law. With our tradition of women have to step into a totally new family after marriage shouldn’t having another female in the husband’s family be a comfort? Why is it not then? And the other way round too.

 

Why doesn’t a woman who has already faced all the skewed expectations of society not help another? Why don’t women have each other’s backs when one of them is a mother-in-law and the other a daughter-in-law? And look I’m not talking about the exceptions here which I’m sure must exist.

 

At workplaces too, why don’t women in higher positions, who have shattered the glass ceiling pull up more women through the crack? Why do they forget how hard it is for a woman to be taken seriously and considered valuable in a workplace. Unfortunately, in my experience, I have found very few women making the effort to be mentors to other women. From creating unnecessary addendums to policies suffocating working mothers to unnecessary micromanagement, more often than not women at higher positions hinder the progress of other women. Or, they don’t take kindly to women who want to have another woman’s back.

 

Why don’t women at higher positions, who have shattered the glass ceiling pull up more women through the crack making that a pathway to women’s success?

 

A long time ago when the British wanted to rule India, they used the Divide and Rule policy. And history is witness to how effective that was. It pains me to write that the society is getting to do that with women without any effort. We are not united. We almost end up ruining our own cause ourselves. We don’t look at a cause as a collective game changer because we are too busy with the self. Whether it is on how we should dress or how we should behave, on period or maternity leaves, maternity benefits to policies to aid working mothers, staying at home or working, we just can’t seem to support each other. While a woman tries to take one step forward another might pull her two steps back. And by doing that we harm our cause more than the society or someone of the opposite sex could.

 

As women, I really wish we would not complicate our already complicated lives. Why can’t the mother-in-law accept her son’s wife as she is? Why can’t the daughter-in-law try to take care of her husband’s mother just like she would her own? Why can’t that female manager not understand that a working mom doesn’t leave office early or work from home to party? Why can’t women defend each other? Why can’t a woman who doesn’t need period leave understand that her friend might actually need it what with her horrible cramps?

 

I see women running all through the day going from one chore to the other. Imagine what it would be like if we could do that knowing that another woman who might not even be in the same situation as us has our back?

 

But wait. It’s not all bad. Why the mothers in my daughter’s daycare always have each other’s backs. If one of them needs to be out of town on work, she has another five ready with meals for her son or daughter at a moments notice. We know what we deal with every day and that’s why we are always willing to step in. So, perhaps, there is still hope.

 

But I also know that this post is full of questions. That’s just what I’m feeling and thinking of these days. These are questions that make me uncomfortable for I can’t seem to get the answer to the various whys. Can you?

 

Can you tell me why it isn’t easy for women to have each other’s backs though it should inevitably be so?

 

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This post is part of the #FeministMondays series (previously called #IAmAFeminist series) on the blog. Inspired by a TEDx talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – We Should All Be Feminists, I intend to talk about the need for feminism through my posts, posts on my experience and observation as a female. I intend to talk about issues concerning women.

Join me and let’s work towards a world of gender parity. Remember, each voice counts. Tell me your story.

 

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Linking to #mg hosted by Mackenzie Glanville

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14 thoughts on “#FeministMondays | Women Need To Have Each Other’s Backs

  1. Ah Naba. I see this for 2 reasons. One, there is a bit of give and take involved in all relationships and often they end up being skewed to one’s advantage, either the dil or mil which creates bitterness. I have seen some mils feel that they finally have someone under their thumb. After all, didn’t they suffer under their own mils and husbands. Hence, a power equation comes into the picture and both hanker for the hapless son/husband to take their side.

    Another reason could be when a woman does not understand or empathize with another woman. I know of women who strongly feel that women should not work leaving their little kids behind. I also know of working women who hate housewives thinking of them as weak and lazy. In such situations, you can imagine why there is a lack of support.

    Women being emotional beings, we sometimes tend to overthink things as well. All these could lead to women behaving more like men in situations of power — mil, woman boss than an empathetic human being. For some reason, a woman’s sensitivity is often looked at as a weak quality.

  2. I don’t have an answer for that. This is something I have been discussing with my friends too. Why a woman find it difficult to support other women. The closest answer I could find is insecurity. Although any human being is susceptible to insecurity, I believe women tend to feel it more and can easily feel challenged by other strong women. That’s just my opinion.

  3. These are burning questions Naba, and I’m not too sure we have a clear cut answer as yet. It’s surprising to see how insecure one woman is towards another and how easily they take to talking behind each others back. A very unlikely trait found amongst men.

    That was one of the reasons why in my younger years I was more comfortable having guy friends. But as time went by I met more like minded women who valued each other and had each others back always. That’s when I realised not all women are alike. Yes, there are a lot of supportive ones out there too. I guess being judgemental, and insecure is one strong human trait.
    Women have a higher EQ than men, and that should actually make them more supportive, understanding and caring. But I guess certain things are the way they are.

  4. A very thought-provoking post indeed, Nabanita. As I see it, it’s about competition for resources. In earlier days, females were not financially independent and had to rely on males for their survival. There was a competition among themselves to get the more resourceful men in their lives. Things are changing with the independence of females in the field of finance but still they don’t get rid of their primal thought-process.

    DIL and MIL are fighting to have a greater influence over the most resourceful person in the family. For MIL, it’s her son, and for DIL, it’s her husband; unfortunately, they happen to be the same person.

    The case is same in workplaces too – a fight for the resources. Opportunities are very less for women and competition is more.

    While in the case of daycare, there isn’t any competition among themselves for the resources.
    Ravish Mani recently posted…What is Wrong in Being a Slut – Part 2My Profile

  5. I agree with Rachna here. MILs always tend to feel the need to have control over their DILs as they felt helpless at their own time with their own MILs. Instead of not subjecting the new girl to what they went through, they try to get even. That’s the problem. Women need to understand one another better. Sadly, women themselves have divided themselves into many groups. Working women, working mothers, homemakers, stay at home mothers and so on. Further, they tend to alienate the other groups from their own. Women need to understand the common cause of feminism they are fighting for, together. Maybe then, they would go ahead and support women.

    At the work place, a woman is normally insecure of her position. She fears that if she gives another some support, she will rise too and may replace her later. This is mainly due to the existing imbalance in the workplace. Finally a woman makes it to the top among males and she doesn’t want another to come close to her. This misconception should be removed.
    Soumya recently posted…#Feminist Mondays | I Do And The AftermathMy Profile

  6. Is it jealousy to see another women progress or the innate fear that she wlll ocertake you or plain hatred which stems from insecurity and envy? I am not sure but I have often seen this at work- very few senior women are supportive of their kin. Rather than encouraging and mentoring more women to grow and succeed they are forever pulling them down or doing nothing at all. It’s disappointing but it’s true

  7. I’m not familiar with customs in India, but am certainly aware of animosity here in the States — a spirit of competition in some places. And yet . . . I’m hopeful, because I see sisterhood in so many places in the blogging communities where I share words. Embracing Truth about God and His abundance is helpful is banishing a scarcity mindset that leads to self-promotion and competition.
    Michele Morin recently posted…It’s Not About You — And It Never Was!My Profile

  8. There are too many dynamics at play and at different levels-of both society and the workplace hierarchy. Women tend to be more emotional and I say this as a fact, not as a weakness. It’s actually a strength that can enable a woman to feel empathetic towards another. The fact that it may not happen could be due to a number of reasons. Jealousy is one. Some women don’t want others to go ahead.

    As for the DIL-MIL relationship, in my experience, there has to be some sort of understanding between both parties and this only comes with lot of letting go, of control from the mom’s side and of possessiveness from the woman’s side. Not easy, but doable if the end result is kept in sight.

    I do agree that we need to support one another, to the best of our ability.

  9. The questions you’ve asked are indeed thought provoking! I feel the basic thing that’s lacking is understanding. Most of the times its goes like “I didn’t have it easy, then why let her have it easy?” I’ve seen this kind of attitude a lot of times.
    Yes, we need to support one another!

  10. I feel sad when we look around to see more women putting others down than pulling them up! Changing a mindset is the toughest thing in my experience and women seem very hesitant to readily give that support particularly when they are in a position of authority and often look down on those less privileged. I think that in order to be supportive of each other, women need to see each other as part of one collective group, which they don’t at the moment and how they can work with synergy together!

  11. It’s such a great topic to talk about. As a young woman I proudly declare myself ‘not one of those girls’. I claimed to be immune from bitchiness and drama that clearly plague my sex… I was young and I believed ‘them’ when they said that’s what women are like. But it’s not true. My experience with women has changed since I changed my mind who they are and could be for me. And that was the first step I needed to take. I totally agree with you, we need to find our way through our experience towards supporting each other. One step, one relationship at a time.

  12. I think only an insecure woman will not help another. I always make it a point to specially help a woman on her way up the corporate ladder ( though I am not working) I offer them tips on how to cope with dual tasks of housekeeping, etc because even if I haven’t been there and done that, offering a shoulder to cry on is good enough support.
    Bellybytes recently posted…Wonderful Waterworld#Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

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