How To Support A Woman Even If You Don't Agree With Her

It takes only a few minutes on social media to show you the difficulties women face when they disagree with each other. Women generally want to be supportive of other women (or claim to be) -- until a woman or group of women do, or say, something they don't agree with. Then it can be all-out war.

This can result in some nasty online exchanges -- and yes, even bullying. It has disappointed me to see so many women with potential for greatness reduce themselves to schoolyard behaviour because they don't like something someone else has said.

Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. And they are entitled to it whether or not you believe their opinion is wrong. As women, we still fight daily against the male patriarchy to be heard ourselves, so it is disappointing to see that we can't even make allowances for a differing opinion within our very own circle.

As women, we need to learn how to work with or communicate with women we don't agree with -- without abusing them, telling them their opinions are rubbish or bitching about them behind their backs. As women, we need to support a woman's right to CHOOSE a path, a belief, a role -- whether we agree with that choice or not.

Things to consider if we want to build women up instead of tearing them down ...

  • We need to understand that just because we don't agree with something, it doesn't mean we must publicly attack another woman for being different or believing differently.
  • We must learn that silence can be powerful -- even deafening -- and is often the best response for something you don't agree with (if you can't be objective).
  • Objective discussions will position you in the minds of others as a leader, whereas attacking a woman and her opinions will only devalue your brand to other women and to the world at large.
  • You can speak up and give your opinion or educated feedback. However, once you call people names or insult someone else in doing that, you've lost your argument and your point, before the discussion has even started.
  • Sharing abusive comments about other women (even if you don't like them) is unprofessional, undignified, and in very poor taste -- and only fuels the already bad treatment of women as a whole in society.

Women need to support the freedom of choice and accept that supporting a woman's right to have a voice doesn't always mean you accept the views being voiced. In the famous words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"