women helping women
This is the annual challenge for writers of year-end round ups. Do you look back on the year that was? Do you recite your accomplishments or round up the accomplishments of others? Or do you look ahead, challenging the reader to imagine what lies ahead? This year, we look ahead.
We’re closing in on the end of 2018 and 2019 is right around the corner. You’ve got your list of resolutions ready but are you truly ready?
Are you ready for the Year of Women Helping Women? We hope so because we need your help to make it happen in 2019. #WomenHelpingOtherWomen
The cynic’s view is that professional women don’t help other professional women. Many studies have shown that senior women don’t reach back and pull other women forward. There’s often a sense of there only being room at the top for one, so why should I give up my coveted and hard-won position for you. These situations are often a product of women being forced to compete for a limited number of seats.
But there are other studies that show that women do help other women – a recent Harvard Business Review article about a study of women cadets at West Point shows a different side. The authors of the study collected data from West Point yearbooks and tracked each cadet’s peer group by gender and their progression through the demanding program.
“When another woman was added to a company, it increased the likelihood a woman would progress from year to year by 2.5%… Women in first-year groups with only one other woman only had a 55% chance of sticking around for the next year. But women in the most woman-heavy groups, with 6 to 9 other women, had an 83% chance of continuing to the next year.”
This is the kind of evidence we want to focus on – women helping other women, women supporting women. We have some specific suggestions.
This year, promise to help one other woman. We’re not going to make you take a solemn vow or dramatic pledges – just do it. Add it to your list of resolutions. What can you do to help? Here are just a few suggestions.

  • Make an employment recommendation. Know a woman looking for a new job? Reach out on her behalf. Get a call from a recruiter. Make the woman on your list your first recommendation.
  • Read a good book by a female author? Post a review on Amazon for her.
  • See a terrific speaker? Tweet out a great quote from her and tag her.
  • Give a young woman a chance to shine – encourage her to share her thoughts in a meeting.
  • Invite another woman to lunch, or coffee. Ask what she needs and follow up.
  • Volunteer to be a mentor.
  • Share what you’ve learned with students. Be there for career day.
  • Go through your closets and pull out those still nice suits you don’t wear. Donate them to Dress for Success or a similar organization.
  • Tell a woman you admire all about it.
  • Thank a woman who helped you.
  • Get invited to speak on a panel? Suggest another woman also be asked.

Innovation Women was founded by women and is designed to help women find success through increased visibility, particularly through speaking engagements. Women who speak publicly are more successful and more highly thought of. They connect through their public speaking with prospective customers, partners, investors, and employers.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

3 Comments

  1. Love this! “This year, promise to help one other woman. “ – I talk about this all the time. I’m not in the business of helping women (like IW). I’m a business intelligence developer. But that doesn’t mean I can’t find one woman to support. For me, I find a woman who wants to break into IT, and I figure out how to get her there. Right now, I’m working with a supervisor from our customer service team, who wants to move into analytics. So I’m teaching her the tools, and I drop her into conversations with management about building our analytics team.
    It’s hard for women in IT and it’s lonely. But if a women in IT pulls you in, that makes it easier for you to get in and it makes it a much less lonely process. I was very alone when I started in IT and it was NOT a great feeling. I was the only women in the room for a long time. Helping others also allows me to be seen as somewhat of a leader, even though I’m technically an individual contributor. Plus IT salaries are generally higher than some other fields, so I’m hoping my actions will somehow contribute to increased financial independence for the women I’ve helped.

  2. Great article! I read the HBR article too. I’ve definitely felt like it was easier to advance when there were other women around to speak to. I can’t imagine how awful it would be to enter military academy and be stuck with all boys. Kudos to all the women who made it through.

  3. artemiswomen

    One of my goals for 2019 is to speak at the MA women’s conference in November. Will another woman on this platform recommend me? Will someone pay it forward for another woman who gives her time to support women’s professional growth?
    I am an author, speaker, org consultant and coach on all things women in leadership.

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