I was so heartened to hear Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, state that, “I don’t believe women help women enough in the workplace.” Friends, you can’t imagine what a difficult, or important, statement that is for a woman in her position to say. Although we KNOW it’s true, it is our dark little secret that we think we can brush under the rug just a little longer. But, guess what? There is now a mound of dirt building up under that rug, and we’re tripping over it constantly. We can’t ignore it any longer. The fact that women, like Indra, who are accomplished leaders, are asking “What’s wrong with us women?” is powerful, and their influence is vast, but we all have to step up to the plate to make a difference. We ALL have to say it in order to change it.
So, why don’t we? The primary reason is that we are collectively ashamed of it. Even if you are a woman that has gone out of your way to be good to other women, or have been the target of “mean girls”, none of us want to collectively condemn woman-kind! But here’s the reality. We cannot begin to heal our brokenness until we acknowledge it. It is currently as if we are walking around with a broken ankle, saying everything is fine, or that it will heal itself, when, clearly, it is not, and it will not. Our foot is obviously facing the wrong way, for Pete’s sake. Let’s get ourselves to the doctor, ladies!
I know how hard it was for me to stand up on the TEDx stage and say that “women are mean to each other” is the pervasive perception of women today. Something inside of me was so woefully sad at having to admit that we are viewed this way but, whether or not we participate, mean girl culture is accepted as the way things are or have to be in order to get ahead. Something else happened as well. I began to heal. I was able to look at things the way they really are. And, as much as it hurt my heart, it also cleared away the things that were obstructing my view, and I began to see how we could all heal. Together.
We can be thankful to the Indra Nooyi, but we have to step up to, and into, her example toward healing and change. “We have to change the dialogue. If I have one plea… let’s figure our how we can help each other, way more than we are today.”
Author: Amy Robinson, Founder of Tribe of Women
Watch her TEDx Talk and Join THE Tribe of Women to heal mean girl culture, and learn to tribe again.