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Six ways you can love and support a woman today

#gender equity notgirls women womenleadership work Dec 10, 2022

by Anne O'Connor

Every woman is different, of course. And yet, there are some key ways of navigating around women that can help her understand your love or support more deeply. You can be instrumental in making work or home life better. Here are 6 ways.

  1. Observe her and ask her what is meaningful to her. The most important thing you can do for a woman you love or want to support is to see her fully, check in with her about what you think you’re seeing, ask her what she wants, and give it to her in balance with your own needs. Every following suggestion bows to this one.
  2. Stop calling her “girl.” I don’t care if that’s what she calls herself and her friends. Especially in workplaces, but truly everywhere, can we please stop calling fully grown women with experience and responsibilities “girls.” Give women their dignity and rightful place.
  3. Give her credit for her good ideas. When a woman speaks up in a meeting or at home or at any kind of gathering, sometimes she’s not heard the first time. Make a commitment to watching for good ideas and amplifying them by repeating her name and the idea. “Let’s think more about what Rozalind was saying about….” This is powerful allyship coming from men or women. In one not-listening-male-dominated workplace, I had a pact with other women to support one another in this way and it is effective.
  4. Do on-going self-development work so you can be emotionally observant and generous. If you don’t know what you’re feeling or you’re not practiced in letting her know, learn this great skill. Romantically, emotional intelligence is a total turn-on and includes the capacity to skillfully handle the wide emotional range of a woman. In every kind of relationship with women, though, you can build your platonic intimacy and knowledge of her—and yourself!—by understanding what she’s working with emotionally and supporting her there.
  5. Clarify roles. Don’t just let one woman oversee the meeting planning, the execution planning, the quarter goals, and the household organization unless there is an explicitly agreed upon role clarification. So often, women take up the work of keeping things organized and on track that we all fall into habits of letting her take it all. Yes, she may need to work on her boundaries—but we’re talking about you right now. Especially at home, whether you’re in a relationship between a man and a woman or two women or whatever configuration, learn about the mental load that women often carry and what can you do to have your home be different.
  6. Don’t fix her in one spot: support her growth and learning. As we move along in life, either we are working on our patterns and habits, or they are working on us. Support her becoming the person she wants to be by clearing the path to opportunities for significant self-development, like the retreats or groups I run. And also, support daily changes toward progress by growing alongside her instead of resisting changes she wants to make—again, in balance with your own needs.

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