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3 Ways Women Empower Other Women (and 3 Ways They Don't) It takes minimal effort to empower others and takes away from efforts when you block the path. When everyone plays a part in uplifting others, it shifts perspectives and pushes everyone forward together.

By Kelly Hyman

Key Takeaways

  • It's important to be aware of what it means to be a true leader and ally to identify and avoid non-supportive behaviors.
  • When you participate in talking negatively about another woman with someone else, it automatically makes you untrustworthy.
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Women in leadership are in a position to lift each other and make room for whoever wants a seat at the table or who wants to create their own table. Sadly, that's not always the case.

Since women already combat stereotypes of being "too outspoken," "too bossy," or just too much in general, it would make sense for women to support their female colleagues and peers rather than battling them.

Of course, there are several ways women can empower other women, but there are also several instances when women do not. It's important to be aware of what it means to be a true leader and ally and identify and avoid non-supportive behaviors.

Related: 8 Ways To Empower the Next Generation of Women Leaders

1. Be a mentor

One of the best ways to empower other women is to become a mentor. Females entering the workplace or rising in the ranks for the first time are looking for leaders to point them in the right direction as they navigate the terrain.

Be the example by sharing your successes and stories of overcoming failures. Schedule time to meet for a coffee chat, host a free class and write reference letters for those who may be looking to you for guidance.

Being a mentor may also involve inviting other women into your network. Being a connection can give someone the confidence they may need to introduce themselves and share what talents and ideas they have to offer to a group.

2. Amplify female voices

A simple way to lift up other women is to amplify their voices. When someone shares their work online, commenting on it or re-posting it for others to view allows them a greater reach. Also, providing welcoming spaces where women can feel comfortable presenting ideas and participating in discussions will build community.

There is no limit to how women can share the stories and work of others in positive ways. Whether it's promoting their offerings, supporting colleagues in meetings, or giving them shoutouts via social media, find ways to spotlight those you admire and pass the mic, so to speak, to those voices who often are shut out.

Related: 4 Easy Ways to Help Women Succeed in Business

3. Support women-owned businesses

There are several ways to support women-owned businesses in addition to buying their goods and services. Participate in a collaboration or a showcase, giving women in business an opportunity to connect with others. Or, consider investing in a woman-owned business that aligns with your values. Showing support often goes beyond simply giving money, and even the smallest gesture can make the biggest difference.

Related: 6 Ways to Better Support Women in the Workplace

Examples of disempowering behavior

These are a few of the many ways women can empower other women and motivate them to grow in their careers and personal lives. However, on the flip side are women unwilling to offer support.

They may view others as competition or embody the cattiness stereotype; whatever the reason, be on the lookout for such behaviors and remove yourself from any business or personal relationships that can bring you down.

Here are examples of how women can disempower other women, which, unfortunately, may feel too all familiar to some.

1. A woman will tell another woman they need to "wait their turn"

As society evolves and we make more room for those without the same opportunities, it's up to us to celebrate wins for all. However, some women believe that because they had extra challenges and setbacks, anyone who tries to do the same must do the same.

Telling someone they must pay their dues or wait their turn is not only disempowering; it's insulting for those who have worked tirelessly to make the path easier for others. For those who want women to face the same struggles they did, actions may be motivated by insecurity and resentment from their own experiences and have less to do with other women at all.

Related: How to Deal With Negative People Who Just Aren't Going Away

2. A woman will tell another woman they look tired in a mean-spirited way

Passive aggressiveness in the professional world is more common than one might think. The workplace can be rife with backhanded compliments to undermine a woman's self-esteem and belittle their presence. Casually telling another woman they "look tired" or providing any other commentary on their looks is condescending.

Even if a person feels drained by their day, hearing those words does nothing to encourage them to keep going. Why not let a person know how great they're doing, acknowledge something helpful they've done, or, when in doubt, say nothing? Don't be a mean girl!

3. A woman will talk negatively about another woman to others

Gossip is contagious but can easily be avoided by simply redirecting a conversation or leaving a discussion altogether. Consider your words carefully and decide if you would say the same if the person were standing in front of you.

When you participate in talking negatively about another woman with someone else, it automatically makes you untrustworthy. Don't buy into the hype of false camaraderie by taking jabs at someone behind their back. If there are specific grievances, it's best to create opportunities to clear up misunderstandings and collaborate on solutions for the future rather than complaining.

Kelly Hyman

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

TV legal analyst and Attorney

Kelly Hyman has been called "a modern day Erin Brockovich" by Forbes. Hyman has appeared numerous times on Law & Crime, Court TV and Fox@night. She is a TV legal analyst and democratic political commentator, and as an attorney, Hyman focuses on class actions and mass tort litigation.

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