When Madeleine Albright said, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women,” it seemed extreme to many people. But nearly two years later, it might be sounding just about right. Considering the global movements propelling women’s rights – from the global embrace of #MeToo to lifting Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving from June of this year – we’ve started thinking about what we can do to #PressForProgress this year. This International Women’s Day, here are a few things we can all do to support one another (and advocate for ourselves) from right here in Hong Kong.
We are all becoming much savvier when it comes to using our spending power wisely. From supporting environmentally friendly businesses to shopping local, we’re a powerful group when we put our money where our mouths are. Supporting women-owned businesses might not typically be on top of mind (even though Sassy Media Group is wholly owned, operated and staffed by an amazing group of women!) but this year we are making it a priority.
Hong Kong has such an amazing group of entrepreneurial women, it won’t be hard to put this into action. From photographers like Michelle Proctor to the makeup mavens at Sponge to working out at Kita Yoga and buying our workout gear at Caelum Greene or cramming our closet with sustainable luxury choices from Hula to stocking up on plastic-free goods and goodies at Live Zero – we’ll have no problem supporting Hong Kong’s women-owned businesses. We are only sorry that we can’t give them all a shout out here.
Read more: Check out our Influencer section for more stories about amazing Hong Kong businesswomen.
When you are on a plane, the safety instructions always say to put your own oxygen mask on first, before helping others. The most important way you can #PressForProgress is to be your own advocate, professionally and personally.
Work to become more and more business savvy. There are so many wonderful books and websites that you can access to learn how (and when) to ask for the raise you can prove you earned. You can start with our article on negotiating salary or, even better in the longer term, reach out to women who can give you advice directly. Get involved in the community (see next slide) and find a cause or activity that you are passionate about. You could be an entry-level assistant at work and the founder of a charity after hours – define your own success.
We’ve always been annoyed that it can be difficult to donate your time to charities – understandably many prefer cash. But for those of us who have more time than money to give, check out our list of where to volunteer in Hong Kong.
There are a lot of organisations focused on supporting women and families based in Hong Kong and throughout Asia that will be happy to have you donate your time. You can also donate goods that are either given directly to women in need or sold to generate money to support specific projects. So put some purpose behind this year’s spring clean and find a place to donate your lightly loved items. Already a #GirlBoss with professional clothing to spare? Our favourite place to donate these items is Suits for Success.
It might sound daunting and time consuming but there are lots of ways to be a mentor. It doesn’t have to be a formal mentorship, but even a general awareness of how you can advise and support the women you work with can lead to a situation where you really can make a difference. And you don’t need to be the boss to do this – at Sassy we encourage anyone who has something to teach to organise a lunch and learn for the team. Not feeling like an expert? Be the person to bring one in to speak to your team or company – look at your business and find a woman who is an authority in your field that could make sense to come in as an inspiring speaker or mentor.
Check out organisations like The Women’s Foundation for more formal ways to become a mentor or attend events that will be helpful if you are seeking out a mentor. Talk with your company’s HR department about any programmes or opportunities that might be offered.
Sure, you’ll always be there for your friends – their biggest cheerleader and a shoulder to cry on – but don’t forget about everyone else. Somewhere along the line, many women began seeing another women’s success as a threat to their own and acting accordingly. We’ll spare you our real thoughts about that behavior and for people who go out of their way to bring down other women. Sticking up for others (and always yourself, of course) can help to propel us all forward. Whether it is something as simple as complimenting the amazing service you received at a restaurant or going out on a limb to make sure that the woman you see being aggressively hit on at the bar gets out of an uncomfortable situation or speaking up to support your co-worker’s great idea, use your voice to lift other women up.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash, image #1 courtesy of Unsplash, image #2 courtesy of Unsplash, image #3 courtesy of Unsplash, image #4 courtesy of Unsplash, image #5 courtesy of Unsplash