Women spend too much time asking men for their opinions and not trusting their gut instinct
There is one fact that is known to most and that is women actually are the biggest roadblocks in helping other women succeed. You won't find too many men gossiping about another woman or man for that matter, but you will find a woman on a board say "no" to having another woman on the board more times than we would like to admit. The reason being that women love their spot in the sunshine, and to have another woman place a shadow over their ambitions would quite simply be an obstacle that they don't want to overcome.
So many women like being the only woman who has "made it". They won't admit it of course, but it's mostly true. If women truly believed that there should be 50 percent representation of women on boards, then they would be putting other women up for the job, regardless of whether they shared the same views or knew that they couldn't ever step on their toes and make it to chairperson, without their sponsor getting their first.
So, you made it - big deal
Women hold other women back and this has to stop. I certainly don't have a memory of not being happy that a woman has succeeded, won awards, conquered huge obstacles and made a name for themselves - other than Julie Bishop of course, who I feel is a socialite and lacks political substance (and spends our tax payer money attending Toorak parties!!!). Bronwyn Bishop however is another kettle of fish. She is brilliant. Sharp as a tack. She makes me want to be more like her every single time I see her sprout her views on television. What a woman.
Investors, collaborators - women who pave the wayThe world is changing, and women need to stand up. While I can attest to it being lonely at the top (or middle - whichever is more appropriate for this blog), to truly make a difference I should where possible try and empower other women to share that journey with me. Partners, investors, collaborators - women with the ability to pave the way and show everyone else how it's done.
Reese Witherspoon - you rock!Look at Reese Witherspoon. Before her 2015 Glamour Women of the Year Awards speech, she wouldn't have made my top 100 favourite actresses or business women. Now, oh my god, she is the bomb. Literally, that speech bowled me over and made me want to ask her if I could do work experience as her tea lady. While she may have over acted the speech, it was the moments of truth that rang clear to me that women need to collaborate more, and not be afraid to put their money where their mouths are.
Rather than "open their legs" for Hollywood sleeze bags, why not create your own movie or wait for the right opportunity. In business, seek out other smart women and do whatever it takes to have them join your tribe. Encourage them to succeed and at times surpass your own achievements. When they are down, pull them up. Give them the encouragement they need to be the best versions of themselves. Explain that risk is not a dirty word as long as you don't leave unpaid creditors in your wake.
Mostly, just give women a go and practice being nice to each other. Don't subscribe to gossip and support those who choose the opposite direction and that is having a family and being there to support them. We need to re-define our role in society, but do it in collaboration and as a team.
I'm about to take the biggest leap of my life and that takes a lot of guts, but thankfully I am surrounded by powerful, strong, resilient women who are there for me every single step of the way.
@rwitherspoon (follow on Twitter)