So I’m of the xx persuasion, chromosomally speaking. And while this comes with a whole slew of awesome, fun parts, it also means that society has taught me a special brand of competition; a brand that sucks. Instead of being taught healthy competition, the kind that pushes innovation forward and fosters some sense of camaraderie, women are taught (admittedly largely subconsciously) that there is a finite bucket of success and happiness. When another woman dips into it, there is less left for the rest of us.
This doesn’t work for me. I don’t want to live or work in a culture that expects me to compete with other women for the sake of ego, not outcome. I don’t want to raise daughters in a society that will teach them to judge, cut down or fear other females just because they are female. I want collaboration not competition. Now I get this isn’t always possible, but it’s sure as hell possible to a larger extent than we currently see.
I’m all about opening the front door. Let me explain. Instead of thinking about success as a finite bucket, think of it as a guest list for the hottest party of the year. Instead of being upset or jealous when your girl gets that last invite instead of you – when we operate with the foundation of collaboration instead of competition – you know that yes, she’s going to the party without you, but you also know that as soon as she’s in the door, she’s going to turn around and open the front door and let you in. Strong women encourage and support each other. We pull each other up with us. We know that it’s more productive, efficient and fun that way. We are validly thrilled for the successes of our female friends, knowing that it does not take away from our possibilities, it in fact adds to them.
Madeline Albright once said, what has become one of my favorite quotes, “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women”.
I pride myself on working hard to have kick ass, fierce female friends; who inspire me to be better, who are validly happy when I succeed and who will always open that front door.
Yael Cohen is the founder, president, and CEO of Fuck Cancer.