Women Supporting Women: The Power of Female Relationships

Women supporting women

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the magic that is female companionship. Research and anecdotes alike point to women’s power as a collective: whether personally or professionally, we only stand to benefit from each other’s kinship and tutelage. While all humans are social creatures, there’s something special about strong female bonds, and the evidence on their benefits might surprise you. 

Perhaps you’ve heard before that women evolved to be cooperative communicators, stemming from a history as caretakers and gatherers in early human society. Though we know now that this wasn’t women’s only role historically, it stands to reason that our networks had an evolutionary benefit to early humanity: information. We learned from each other and disseminated the findings to our communities, promoting survival.  

And while the narrative of female relationships has centered around competition for far too long, new research suggests that collaboration contributes most to women’s success. Women’s connections provide support and pave the way for collective advancement, particularly for those facing cultural and systemic barriers. Known as the Shine Theory, the idea of being brighter together is simple yet profound. It rejects the notion that women can outshine each other, instead focusing on the brilliance of the whole: “I don’t shine if you don’t shine.”

We can see this theory play out in the workplace, where successful women rely on networks of close female contacts to land executive positions. Though tokenism can breed competition in certain industries (“this town isn’t big enough for the both of us”), uplifting each other is the key to eradicating inequality at the source and making room for more women at the top. Whether by reaching out to other women in your industry, being a mentor/mentee, and/or advocating for organizational support at your current company, every participant stands to benefit!

These benefits span beyond the workplace, too. As Beyonce aptly put it, “[There] is nothing like a conversation with a woman that understands you.” Perhaps it’s no surprise that women thrive by connecting. But the benefits aren’t just social: according to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, close ties have also aided in positive outcomes for breast cancer patients–talk about powerful!  

As a team of predominantly women, we at Pivotal Talent Search know firsthand how special these relationships can be. Together, we’ve built a supportive culture where we tap into each other’s success and lean on one another, and we’re all better for it! In and out of the workplace, when we nurture each other and fulfill our need for connection, everyone wins.