2018 was a big year for women. In a lot of ways, it may have been the best year in the history of women – ever. Last year brought increased attention to the Gender Gap in the workplace, breaking through the Glass Ceiling, pay inequality and of course, the #metoo movement. The result is that women continue to encompass more and more leadership roles within executive teams, company Boards and politics, there is a spotlight on unequal pay and there’s accountability and consequence for bad behavior from powerful people that abuse that power. Much of this attention focuses on men behaving badly and there’s no denying that it can be difficult as a woman to feel like you’re on a level playing field sometimes. When men behave badly in a professional setting, it can range from simply being over-patronizing to downright predatory. But in my opinion, there’s another issue at hand, one which can be just as damaging for women that isn’t often discussed because it’s, put simply, harder to pinpoint. And that is when women fail to support other women.
Most of you know I’ve led many lives before becoming a full-time blogger. I’ve worked in a variety of different types of workplaces. As a hair stylist, I was an independent contractor working alongside a salon full of other contractors. I’ve worked corporate jobs with co-workers, bosses and executives all on the same payroll. I’ve been a waitress. And of course, I’ve worked for myself as a blogger for several years. I’ve definitely seen men behave badly in the workplace and create an unequal work environment, but I’ve also seen (experienced first-hand) women stifle the progress of other women because of pettiness, competitiveness, jealousy and insecurity. You might think that this phenomenon would be more prevalent in a salon full of independent contractors competing with others for clients or less prevalent in an industry where you work completely for yourself, but you’d be wrong. It’s pretty much the same, no matter how you structure the work environment. And quite frankly, it got me thinking…why?
It’s my experience that when women support other women in any setting, you’re left feeling better about yourself and there’s a good chance that everyone can win. I have yet to experience a situation where one person who deserved a bonus didn’t get one just because someone else got theirs. And when it comes to blogging, there’s even less reason not to support other women in this industry. For example, someone may take the viewpoint that brand collaborations or jobs are finite so there are obviously winners and losers. But that would be a very short-sighted approach. The reality is, social media is an exponentially increasing tool for brand marketing (and their budgets) and the “pie” gets bigger and bigger every year. What will hurt (us) bloggers long term is if the collective can’t prove that they can provide value to those brands. If we are able to support each other, make each other better and more effective, it will ultimately be better for everyone involved.
I believe there is room in this industry for every woman who brings a unique viewpoint and adds value to their own audience and the brands they work with. I TELL EVERYONE TO START A BLOG if they have the desire. There’s room guys. I’m trying to learn from my personal experiences to bring support to women and elevate them. Look at some of the companies I’ve been highly involved with in the past and maybe now you’ll understand why. Bumble is a dating app created by Whitney Wolfe Herd to empower women-- where Tinder, Match and others couldn’t (or wouldn’t). Not only is a big portion of their staff female but the entire purpose of the app itself is to put women in charge. Bumble is one company that I can honestly say practices what they preach. I loved meeting the team in Austin and the others from all over the US. The people I’ve met there will be my friends FOREVER (you know who you are!!). I’ve recently begin working with The Emerald. It’s a woman-empowered, female co-working space in Scottsdale that takes the male out of the equation. My husband and I use Sony Alpha cameras, and Sony just announced the “Alpha Female” initiative to support women photographers. And even on the individual level, I’ve found other bloggers who share my philosophy about building a positive support network.
In 2016 my husband and I moved into our new home and shortly after, I got the opportunity to host several other bloggers as we collaborated with Williams Sonoma. It was such a fun day and I made some great girlfriends. But one really stuck, The Bubbly Blonde, like, literally in every sense of the word, Bubbly. She was freshly making her way through an unfortunate divorce. Handling it in the most classy and professional way I’ve ever seen a woman handle anything. Instead of kicking and screaming (which is fine too) she went to work. WERK. I was definitely impressed by her, to say the least. HERE I AM having a good “season”…. just moving into my new house, in my new marriage, ya know, a pretty little picture. For Mckenna to be vulnerable and tell me her story, really made an impact on me. We had wine later and have been supporting each other every sense.
We are girl's girls. We are loyal. We are friends and we don’t compete. We know we bring something different to the table. We know we have a different hustle and approach. We know we have a different hair color. I mean, she “gets ready for the day” even when she’s not going anywhere. Being different just works for us because we truly want the other one to succeed. WE KNOW WE MAKE EACH OTHER BIGGER AND BETTER and by doing that, we grow. Open yourself up for these types of female relationships, it’s worth it.
2018 was a big year for women. It was also a big year for me. It had its ups and downs, but the best highlight was having my daughter Nixon, in July of last year. And TBH she’s the cutest thing in the entire world!! My husband and I were talking about the prospect of having a baby girl before she was born and we asked each other if we were scared to bring a little girl into this world. But we quickly squashed those fears because duh, it’s the best time in history to be a woman!!! In 20 years, it’ll be much, much better to be female than 2018. I’m working harder on myself because of her. I truly believe we’re better together, ladies.
Happy National Women’s Month! If you’re not keeping up with my friend Mckenna, go check her out (do blondes have more fun?).