6 Reasons Why Female Friendships are Crucial for Girls’ Advocacy
On July 30th, we celebrated the beauty and importance of friendship on International Friendship Day. All year long, Global G.L.O.W. girls around the world grow, learn, and create alongside each other in a safe space where they can express their biggest joys, fears, and dreams about being a girl. The relationships they build with each other allow them to overcome some of the biggest challenges in their lives and, ultimately, to advocate for themselves and each other.
Global G.L.O.W. Youth Correspondent Samantha (pictured above, in the orange shirt) has compiled some of her observations about the friendships she’s built and maintained with other girls over the years. Read on!
We Are Stronger Together
By Samantha, 18, Nigeria
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A woman is like a teabag—you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” When you put more than one tea bag in a cup of hot water, the flavor only grows stronger, right?
This is exactly what research has pointed out. A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that women who have a strong circle of friends are more likely to get executive positions with higher pay. Women fare better in their professional life when they have the support of strong female friends.
“Female friendships serve as wings on which girls fly.”
Global G.L.O.W. works to establish healthy female relationships in young girls and teenagers like me to create a supportive environment to grow and thrive. Girls have the information they need to stay healthy, maintain healthy relationships, and make positive choices for their future. It’s in GLOW Club that I built my own self-advocacy skills, emotional well-being, and community engagement.
I’ve learned that the beauty of female friendships is a precious thing. The bonds of girlfriends, squads, or sisters have existed for all of humanity, solidly embodied by “girl power.”
Female friendships serve as wings on which girls fly. Understanding sisterhood and female friendships can help girls harness their power and reap the wonderful benefits. Here a few things I’ve learned to be true of female friendships:
Female friendships are about unity – not competition.
In a world where people are striving to be better than each other at whatever cost, sisterhood aims to look out for each other and see that we all grow to be the best versions of ourselves as we work hand-in-hand with each other.
Someone once said, “We rise by lifting each other,” and it’s the truth.
Female friendships foster love and kindness.
The love found and felt in female friendships can rarely be found anywhere else because we can see one another with eyes of innocence, empathy, and compassion.
Research has shown that for women, hanging out with female friends can release large amounts of oxytocin which make you feel even more relaxed.
Female friendships build strong networks that work.
“Even lone ranger didn’t do it alone.” When I first heard this, I cracked up. It’s the truth!
Female friendships provide a vital basis for building strong networks among girls that work and thrive. When we mutually advocate for each other’s interests and values, we begin closing bridges between us to pull down barriers any one of us would face alone.
Female friendships provide a safe space for girls.
As girls, we are very unique creatures, and there are certain aspects of our uniqueness that we may not always feel comfortable discussing with our male counterparts, such as menstruation, emotional problems, our sexual health, etc. Let’s discuss these issues together to help break stigma.
Female friendships hold us accountable and help us grow.
Female relationships provide spaces for accountability in helping one another grow and become better girls and women in the future.
There are several great things girls can accomplish when we feel sisterhood and solidarity. The accomplishments of great women can be replicated and even surpassed as girls are encouraged to maximize sisterhood and female friendships.
Many young girls have become depressed and even attempted suicide because of loneliness. We need each other to survive and get better.
Female friendships and sisterhood can be compared to the human body.
Each person has only one body, but that body has many parts. All those different parts make only one body. I want you to think about how this analogy demonstrates how much women need one another. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each in its proper size and its proper place. No part is important on its own.
The way our bodies are designed is a model for understanding our lives together as girls, ladies, and women as sisters in solidarity: each part depends on every other part. If one woman hurts, every other woman is involved in that, including the healing process. If one woman flourishes, all of us join in the exuberance.
“Understanding sisterhood and female friendships can help girls harness their power.”
With the current pace at which our efforts are going, it will take 135 years to attain gender equality. But I believe that when we take advantage of sisterhood and solidarity, we will move faster and gender equality will be reached even sooner. Let’s continue to maximize the bliss of female friendships as we thrive in sisterhood and solidarity.
Global G.L.O.W. partners with community-based organizations in 30 countries to operate mentorship-driven programs for girls ages 10-18. Our SEL-based curriculum gives girls the tools to express themselves, advocate for their rights, and challenge the most critical barriers to achieving gender equality. Support our work at globalgirlsglow.org/donate.