The cultural tides are shifting, and the call to lift up women is louder than ever. While financial support (whether that be via salaries, donations, or investments) is a big component of that mission, there are many other ways to encourage women for those who want to help but aren't in a position to give money. Read on for three cost-free ways to be a champion of women and make a direct impact.
Become a mentor
Forget what you think you know about mentoring — it doesn’t have to be formal, it doesn’t have to be a big time commitment, and it doesn’t have to be someone younger than you. Whether it’s another woman in your neighborhood, your community, or your office who could benefit from your insight, expertise and connections, make it your mission to share the wealth of your experience and prop up another woman who is making her own way.
Maybe it’s a new hire who can benefit from your awareness of office politics, or an acquaintance going through a big life event that you’ve experienced personally. No matter what the mentorship opportunity looks like, extending the metaphorical life vest and establishing a new connection (with zero ulterior motives) can be extremely healing and helpful.
Volunteer child care
Anyone who mothers, however that manifests in a person’s life, deserves a prize, a hug, or both — and single mothers often bear an exceptionally heavy load. Are there any single mothers, or especially overburdened mothers, in your circle or extended friend group? If you have the time and space in your life to take on the role of "babysitter," consider donating a night or day of childcare.
It can often be hard to ask for extra help, especially if someone feels like they’re burdening others or can’t afford to pay. (On that note, it can also be hard to accept help, so don’t be offended if someone doesn’t immediately jump at your gesture.) That said, the act of reaching out and offering to pitch in — no strings attached — can be just the boost a busy mom needs so she can continue to be the superhero mama she is.
Don't forget your "strong friends"
We’ve all heard the phrase “everyone you know is fighting their own battle” so often it’s almost become a meaningless cliché, but the reason it’s repeated so frequently is because it’s true — even for those of us who seem like we’ve got it under control. Often times, it’s the ladies who seem the most cool, calm and collected that have the most going on under the surface, but because they don’t project their anxiety outward, it can be easy to forget to check in on them.
Asking if someone’s ok can be affronting (“do I seem not ok?”), but poking a little beneath the surface and giving them the space to unburden some of those tricky emotions, if they’re ready and willing, can be an incredible gift. Even if they don’t need or want to vent, simply letting someone know you’re there if needed can be a form of relief in itself.
How do you support the women in your life and community? Let us know in the comments below!