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?
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.