When women come together to share knowledge, celebrate each other’s accomplishments and uplift each other amazing things can happen. August marks Women’s Month in South Africa, a time when we marvel at how far women have come and reflect on how to continue supporting one another. Traditionally women have congregated to offer congratulations and support when there is a baby or bridal shower, but times have changed and work promotions, new businesses, graduations, moving to new homes or just simply ticking off personal goals are all cause for a reason to unite and rejoice!
A study on successful female leaders in the Harvard Business Review shows that women who are surrounded by successful female friends are more likely to land executive positions and receive higher pay. In our personal lives, too, research shows that close female friendships promote better mental and physical well being, influence the way we respond to stress, and even help us live longer.
The power of having remarkable female friends who value and motivate each other is indisputable, so this Women’s Month it’s time to continue to extend encouragement both within our inner circles and to other women.
Here are five ways we can do that.
Mentor other women
Once you have found yourself in a busy and thriving career, it’s often easy to forget how your own career began. One way in which you can uplift another woman is by paying the knowledge and advice you have received forward. This can be as small as helping a young woman with her CV and interview skills, or as big as seeking out a junior employee and taking them under your wing for a few months.
Grow a thriving network
Having a network of successful friends can not only potentially open doors for you but also inspire you in times when you may need it in your own career. Consider connecting a select group of thriving friends, who might not know each other well, for a casual girls’ lunch where each of you can share ideas and anecdotes. Inspire your friends to wear something that makes them feel like the best version of themselves and gather your girl gang for cocktails and delicious bites at a stylish restaurant, such as the cosmopolitan The Red Rooftop Bar & Terrace at Radisson RED Johannesburg Rosebank where executive Chef Genghis has curated mouthwatering offerings perfect for sharing, like nachos, dressed fries or a build-your-own flame-grilled meat platter.
If you’re in Cape Town or Durban consider a girls lunch at the equally lively Radisson RED Cape Town V&A Waterfront or Radisson Blu Hotel, Durban Umhlanga, where you can toast to life’s successes all while revelling stunning views. At the end of the day, we can only get so far alone, so putting in some time, over some relaxed food in a vibrant setting, will help you grow a strong sisterhood for a better tomorrow.
Cheer your friends on
We all know that incredible feeling of achieving something we have worked so hard on. This feeling is only made sweeter by our loved ones hyping us up too. If you have women in your life who are dedicated to reaching certain milestones, why not surprise them with a card and their favourite flowers? In your card you can detail the ways in which this friend has inspired you and write your heartfelt feelings on their accomplishments.
Empower each other to shine
A unique way that you could empower other women is by trying out the Shine Theory. First introduced by journalist Ann Friedman and writer Aminatou Sow in 2013, the Shine Theory is about showing support and upliftment for other women because competition or negative comparison won’t help you or them shine. “When you meet a woman who is intimidatingly witty, stylish, beautiful, and professionally accomplished, befriend her. Surrounding yourself with the best people doesn’t make you look worse by comparison. It makes you better,” Friedman explains.
Create a resource community
Not every woman has the time to stay on the pulse of career advice, job openings and work opportunities, inspiration and motivational tools. You could help facilitate the development of your peers and friends by starting a group chat where it’s encouraged to share solid resources like articles, podcasts and event links to your community of women. Your group chat could follow a particular theme like only being for women working in specific industries, or it could be a group chat for women of a particular age demographic that are undergoing similar challenges and benchmarks.