Women face challenges globally and here at home.
“Gender equality simply means a world where women enjoy the same rights and have the same opportunities as men.” Gender equality spurs economic growth, virtually guarantees increased resources for children, encourages inclusive decision-making and improves family planning.
Globally, women struggle to get equal pay for equal work, to sit in the boardroom or the cabinet office or simply to go to school.
They also struggle for something else— support from other women.
Jamaica is unique; women are well represented but still not equal.
While women and girls around the world find themselves shut out of schools, married off young, blocked from executive offices and limited to the noble but confining role of childcare provider, Jamaican women live a unique experience. In Jamaica the number of women tertiary graduates exceeds that of men, according to statistics from International Labour Organization (ILO). In fact, with 59 percent of all managers being women, Jamaica has the highest proportion of women managers not only in the region in the world.
Our girls are often treasured. Many of us are encouraged to pursue the highest level of education, encouraged to delay starting a family and encouraged to climb the corporate ladder only to run into an unforeseen, unexpected and unnecessary challenge — “bad mind.”
Sometimes, the greatest challenge a woman faces is in fact another woman. Some of us are supremely competitive. We fought tooth and manicured nail to get where we are and therefore fight against the “hurry come up” that we perceive, incorrectly, is here to challenge our spot. Others of us are full of pride and don’t wish someone we perceive, incorrectly, as inferior to make us look bad. Then there are those of us who live in fear that if we are too friendly, we may be perceived, incorrectly, as playing favourites and thereby diminish our status.
We must combat these incorrect perceptions with a #SisterhoodForSuccess.
Sisterhood is necessary to attain gender balance.
In simple terms, a sisterhood is a group of women supporting women. #SisterhoodForSuccess does not mean that we are against men. It doesn’t mean we believe women are superior. #SisterhoodForSuccess means that as women we look out for each other, help each other, support each other and celebrate each other.
As we demonstrate respect for each other, we set an example for others. We set a standard for all.
Women must reset our perception of ourselves and each other.
To build our sisterhood, we must first shed our negative, inaccurate and counterproductive perceptions of women in the workforce. We must remove any blocks we created that keep us from our right to enjoy gender equality and all the personal, community and global benefits gender equality brings.
Here is how I have built my amazing sisterhood and how you can do it too.
In sisterhood, women must reach out and support one another. Let your sisters know you appreciate and support them.
Sisterhood must offer sustained, authentic support. It’s not a one-time thing. Our support for each other must be ongoing. It is how we lift each other up.
Revealing our own journey provides inspiration. Each of us have overcome a challenge that someone else is facing right now. Every one of us has attained a level of success that someone else is striving for right now. Today, each of is contemplating a solution from a problem that someone else has solved. By constructively sharing our journey of setbacks and successes, we can learn from and further support one another.
Having shared with our sisters, we must then allow them to support us and receive their encouragement gracefully. This has been the hardest step for me. Every woman in my sisterhood can attest. Yet, a sisterhood is not complete without it.
Having repeatedly offered ourselves selflessly to others, having exposed our heart and heartfelt efforts, we must embrace the love and support we receive in return. Accepting help does not diminish us, it makes us all stronger.
Live the #SisterhoodForSuccess Lifestyle
I challenge you to identify your #SuccessSisters; Build a #Sisterhood with your co-workers, church sisters, service club members, PTA members, neighbourhood watch members; reach out, repeat, reveal, receive and join with our #BrothersAndSisters and #BalanceForBetter.