“…Women are their own worst enemies…”

“…Women are the ones holding women back…”

“…Women are bitchy…”

“…Women have catfights…”

Heard some of this before? I’m sure you have. And, sadly, you’ve probably been hearing it since you were a little girl.

This article in yesterday’s Women’s Agenda explores the myth that women secretly hate each other (yes, that’s what it is, a myth), and it got me thinking. I am certain there are many women out there who have experienced and are experiencing wonderfully supportive, fulfilling, valuable interactions and relationships with other women, whether personal or professional, and I firmly believe we are the rule, not the exception.

My office is full of women. It is something we are proud of and congratulated on (with no condescension intended, of course). Shock and surprise: we all get along. There is no office politics. There is no “bitchiness”. There are no “mean girls” or cold shoulders. The fact that this is at all remarkable is in itself remarkable.

But on the other hand, perhaps we shouldn’t be taking this for granted. Perhaps we should be shouting from the rooftops: “we are all women and we are all helping each other to be successful! Pay attention to us! It’s happening!”

But that’s boring. It’s not the stuff of prime time pay television. It’s not “Real Housewives” material. Women getting along? Pfft, who cares.

But I am convinced it’s real, and it’s normal.

Yesterday, I sat in a meeting with three other women. In less than an hour we had each contributed our ideas, listened to each other, committed to action, ticked off our agenda and moved on with our busy days. I didn’t think that was worth talking about. Until I was reminded of the prevalence of this myth, and how incredibly important it is to publicise these experiences, to actually talk about how much we enjoy and value our relationships with other women.

On a personal level, I have wonderful female friends, as I’m sure many of you do, from all aspects of my life’s experience. I still catch up with friends from my all-girls’ high school. Nearly three years since our babies came in to the world, my mother’s group is still meeting for lunch (sans crazy toddlers, of course). My sister is a constant support for me, as I am for her.

It is a simple fact of life that you won’t get along with everyone: you won’t like them all and not all of them will like you. But I don’t believe this has anything to do with gender. It has to do with people, and personalities. Not women or men. 

Whilst it may have been convenient for those in positions of power over the past few centuries to perpetuate the myth of women as women-haters, there is much we can do now to tear it down.

For a start, let’s start talking about how much we like each other.   

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