I didn’t grow up with a sister, but I always wished I had.
I longed for the support and intimacy that I saw between my good friends and their own sisters. Don’t get me wrong I love my brothers more than anything, and I’m incredibly close to my mother, who has often served as parent, sister and best friend all at the same time. However, when growing up I always wondered what it would be like to have grown up with a peer with whom I could share secrets with, whom I could push towards success, and whom can in turn do the same with me.
I recently read a study called Friendship at Work: Can Peer Effects Catalyze Female Entrepreneurship? - which it is suggested that women who have the peer support of other women are more likely to launch their own business and/or to seek a higher income. This got me thinking. Now, the paper mostly consists of statistics and the authors’ own interpretations of their findings. But here is my own: peer to peer women support provide women with the necessary encouragement and technical assistance to move forward in their career and take risks.
Think about it this way: if you had a network of women who are ready, willing and able to push you to be braver, or to provide any help in terms of advice or practical work, or if you had women around you who were themselves successful, won’t that push you to ask for that raise you deserve, or start that business you’ve been dreaming about?
Then I naturally started to reflect on my own experience, and especially at the last couple of years of my career. Those who know me know that it’s been a dream of mine to start my own podcast production company since I graduated from my Masters in 2015. You can probably do the math, it is now three years later and I have just started to make my dream into a reality. In the interim, I kept on postponing my ambition partly because I was scared, and partly because I had zero self-confidence.
You’re probably asking yourself: what happened? Well, I got the kick in the ass needed by all the girl friends I made across the years.
That’s when I realized: I had experienced the powerful bond of sisterhood my entire life without even having noticed it. One of my college roommates reminded me of the creativity I had in me, the other pointed out that I was stronger than I gave myself credit for. My highschool best friend yelled at me for always questioning myself, and to stop talking of what I hoped to be doing and to actually do it. And then there were my co-workers who helped me in more ways than I can count. One of them even decided to do this podcast with me.
Long story short: if it wasn’t for the network of women in my life I would not be starting my podcast company today.
Women supporting women might sound like a cliche as this point. However, speaking from experience it truly makes a difference. If it weren’t for the friends I collected along the way, I do not think I would be where I am today. They gave me the support needed to start my own business. They gave me the encouragement needed to to be bolder in the face of any challenge. They called me out on my bullshit so I do not get caught up in my own stubbornness. They gave me the inspiration needed to confidently believe that I could be whatever I wanted to be when I grew up. They gave me the love needed not to have to wish that I had grown up with a sister anymore.