Why don’t women support each other always?
As women, on our own, we have strength and power but collectively we have an impact. It’s all true but how many of us really stand up for each other? Let’s start with the most basic and important model – family. It is relatively easier to talk about women, collaboration and support at the organisational level. As we have data to authenticate our arguments. However, support at the family level is hard to talk about. After all, our emotions and feelings are intangible.
Honestly speaking – it starts in the family. A daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a daughter-in-law, a mother-in-law, a sister-in-law – each one of us is all of these at some point in time. It is also equally true that there comes a time in our lives when we are all of these at the same time! The support and collaboration begin right there in the heart of a family and it spread its warmth across other spheres as a friend or colleague, or a leader.
Today in this post, contrary to my research on shine theory (when women support women, you shine) and my analysis of the new research of Harvard Business Review, I am going to talk about the intangibles. The not so blazingly obviously talked about aspects of ’emotions’ in women supporting other women. I cannot say that I have cracked the code but I am trying to give it a go nevertheless.
Why do we feel threatened?
Why do we feel threatened? I have learnt that there is an invisible natural law that helps to shape how women interact with other women and their personal lives. I had no clue but there is a nomenclature attached to this rule. The rule is called the ‘power dead-even rule’, a term coined by Pat Heim and colleagues in Hardball for Women: Winning at the Game of Business. The core idea of the book is the so-called Power Dead-Even Rule, the theory that for two women to forge a positive relationship, their self-esteem and power must be kept “dead even.”
In other words, it’s the feeling of a shift in power and self-esteem. Now, look at some of your relationship equations. Whenever there is a disruption in power (such as women rising in status above other women), not always but sometimes there is a discomfort and threat to the current position. I am strictly talking about family ties without naming names (relations) ;-). Have you heard this, ‘I have done it all, you should figure it out too’? Are we passing on the torch of our insecurities?
What can we do about it?
It is a pendulum-like situation – the dichotomy of unconditional love and tearing each other down. When our minds are not involved in kitchen politics, it is liberating. Whoever comes to your family, let’s pass those progressive values where you ‘be the change’. Rising above years of ‘power dead-even rule’, we make our own rule. I leave it to you, please feel free to coin your own term. Let’s not forget, at some point, we all will be all those relations.
Each and every relationship has shades of all the colours of the spectrum. They need care, attention reflection and NOT comparison. Let’s not be a victim of our habits and rise above those thoughts that are pulling us into the dark hole of misery. Because attention is like the water for the tree of your habits, wherever it flows, habits grow (I had noted this line a long time ago). Raising each other up and channelling the power of collaboration (pass on the torch of your progressive values) is truly how we’ll change the equation—and enjoy the journey together.
What do you think? Please let me know your thoughts and if you’ve found it interesting, please pass it along!