Women Leaders Must Help Develop Tomorrow's Women Leaders
If you have been following me for any length of time you know that I believe that the greatest issue holding women back is the lack of support from other women. I'm old enough to know, and to have experienced, the fierce competition women feel toward other women --- too often for reasons that have more to do with a lack of self confidence and jealousy than from a situation of having a true opponent.
The question I ask women to ask themselves is, "If I don't support other women how can I expect them to support me?"
Beginner women entrepreneurs learn early on the isolation that comes from putting long hours and everything you have into a startup small business.
Launching, building and growing a small business requires making a choice in how one will spend time. Women entrepreneurs, particularly, find that they have less time for their women friends and eventually lose touch with their circle of friends.
The truth is all women can and should help when a woman in their circle decides to transition their career and/or life -- whether it is to start a business, change jobs, stay home with children, go back to school or retire.
Isolation is the number one concern for women business owners in the United States today says the National Association of Women Business Owners. Starting a business is no easy task, but either is nuturing a new born baby, or enrolling in school after a career change or retiring after years of work. Helping other women means doing whatever we can to ensure their success whether or not we share in the endeavor. Stay-at-homes Moms can help working Moms by keeping them in the loop and allowing them to continue to feel part of a circle of friends. Working women can be there for stay-at-home friends by including them in their networks whenever possible.
Women don't need to segment their friends! Men don't, and have been successful in building the strong "old boy network" that has continued to help them thrive in all fields.
Here are some ideas of how you can support other women:
If she starts a small business --- spend your money and support the enterprise. Take time to spread the word to others and help her develop a following.
If she needs a job --- hire her, get her into your networks, refer her.
If she goes back to school --- ask her about her classes and continue to keep her networked and ready to apply for a job when appropriate.
If she retires --- keep calling her and getting her involved. Networking may be more important than ever as she has more time for nonprofit work or to serve on boards.
If she has a baby --- keep her involved in your business and social network. Stay-at-home women are isolated too and need all the coaxing we can give them to get out and involved in other things.
If she runs for office --- vote for her, share the information of her political views and get others excited about a woman running for election.
Remember when one woman wins ALL women win. Supporting each other to get ahead in our businesses and our life is the best way to ensure that the next generation of women leaders will have it just a little bit easier.
NOW - call a woman in your circle and ask her what you can do to support her today. I guarantee that one call will make a difference that will embrace women everywhere.