I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: 2016 has been a challenging year. And coming off the back of the US election the mood amongst my girlfriends is at an all-time low. I’d call it a collective exhaustion. Because it doesn’t matter how you feel personally about Hillary Clinton, it’s still depressing to watch an insanely-accomplished woman lose to a less-qualified man. Why? Because this happens across the world every single day. And we’re not making progress fast enough.
It’s easy to feel a sense of despair, but I want to go into the New Year with a fresh perspective, renewed energy and sense of purpose. And here are three proactive steps I think we can all take to make 2017 more female-friendly…
BUILD A SUPPORT NETWORK
The easiest and most effective thing we can do is surround ourselves with a support network of strong, intelligent women to help us through life’s hurdles. Everyone needs a cheerleader!
And just as it’s so important to have a support network in place for yourself, it’s also vital that we help each other climb to the top. So be willing to share your advice, contacts and experience with your peers. Melinda Gates summed it up perfectly when she said, “If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped.”
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH INSPIRATION
Whilst it’s vital to have a network of badass women surrounding you IRL it’s also really important to find smart, sassy, glass ceiling-smashing role models who you can look to for inspiration. And right now I’m obsessed with Georg Jensen’s impressive ‘You Can Never Be Too Much You’ campaign. It stars five incredible women making waves in the world: Susanne Bier, an award-winning director; Dominique Crenn, the world’s best female chef; Sarah Kendall, an award-winning stand-up comedian; Cecilia Brækhus, world champion boxer; and Behnaz Shafiei, an Iranian motocross rider.
It’s a really powerful, motivational film that’s sure to get you fired-up and ready to push harder in 2017. Watch it ASAP and send it to all of your girlfriends.
UK ELLE’s editor-in-chief, Lorraine Candy, began her December editor’s letter with this bold note, “I believe there is one thing I absolutely must ask you to do in 2017 and that is to become an active feminist.”
This doesn’t mean you have to do anything radical. There are many small and simple ways to become more proactive. First of all, just keep your eyes open and be aware of the challenges women are facing at home and around the world (like the gender pay gap, proposed virginity testing and “domestic violence makeup”). And then speak up and question things that don’t seem right – even if it’s just within your circle of friends.
Because, although it might sometimes feel like we have little power to effect change, it’s important to remember that individually we are, in fact, very powerful. So take advantage of your right to vote, stop supporting media outlets that portray women badly (I no longer read Mail Online) and use your voice. If we all stick together we’ll be so much stronger in 2017!
What steps will you be to make 2017 more female-friendly? And how are you feeling about current events right now? Depressed? Afraid? Angry? Hopeful? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave a comment below and have your say…
~ This post was created in collaboration with Georg Jensen, whose You Can Never Be Too Much You campaign struck a chord with me. Thank you for continuing to support the sponsors that make Coco’s Tea Party possible. ~