Most men would consider themselves to be respectful to the women in their lives, and women in general. Though most men have good intentions, there may be ways that you can learn to be a true ally of the women’s rights movement.
In recent years, the topics of women’s rights, consent, and oppression on a grander scale have come to the surface in a way that they hadn’t in the past. It’s completely understandable that you may want to learn more about women’s rights, and how to make the women in your life feel safe with you. The struggles that women face may have gotten better over time, but they are still very present in the day-to-day life of women all over the world.
Listen To Women
Learning how to treat women with respect and care is one of the greatest things that you can do for your relationships to women in your life. When someone close to you tells you about their experiences or shares that they feel that they’ve been treated unfairly, being there to support them with warmth and kindness can make the difference in their relationship to their struggles.
Listening to women is also an important aspect of social dynamics you may find yourself in. It’s very common for women to feel silenced or unwelcome in certain conversations, especially in the workplace. By actively trying to create space for the women around you to voice their opinion, you can help them feel valued.
In a relationship, this also takes the form of not conforming to gender roles. In any household, it’s important for both people to share the load of responsibility. Traditional models of a “nuclear family” are outdated. Having effective conversations about the boundaries and responsibilities in your relationship can help your partner feel respected in your relationship. If you’re struggling with these kinds of topics in your relationship, free marriage counseling is available. Without open dialogue, feelings can be suppressed, which can ultimately lead to a blow-up.
Around every 1 in 6 women will experience sexual assault in their lifetime. Unfortunately, even more, have experienced sexual harassment or inappropriate comments being directed their way. One of the most harmful things that men do is not believe women when they share their experiences or undermine how damaging they can be. A true ally of women believes women.
Though cat-calling on the street or in public settings is common, this can also happen more subtly in the workplace or within groups of friends. By being attuned to how these comments affect women and being there to have their back, you can be a strong supporter of the women that you care about.
Believing women goes beyond agreeing with their opinion, or listening to their experiences. Being supportive of their actions, caring for their well-being, and making an effort to be empathetic and kind can make a lasting difference in a person’s life.
Educating yourself on the history of the women’s rights movement and the ways that women have struggled to gain the rights that they have is an important step in being an ally. Though you may want to ask questions to the women in your life, doing your own research can be more helpful in the long run.
These kinds of conversations can be draining for women to have to engage in, especially when emotions are involved. Being able to come to any of these conversations well-versed in what’s happened in the past can be helpful, and will make the women you’re speaking to feel more safe and comfortable. Remember that it’s not women’s job to teach you about these topics.
Though you may make efforts to be a better ally, there may be times that you realize there’s more for you to learn. Being corrected by the women in your life may be challenging in moments, but it’s an important part in your growth. Being open to constructive criticism is a healthy way to continue learning as you get older.
No matter what, understanding that women hold the same value as men is the core of being a good ally. Showing up for the women in your life will not only improve your relationship with them but make you a better person overall. It can be hard to learn (or unlearn) things that makeup part of your foundation. What ultimately makes the biggest difference is your willingness to listen, understand and grow from it.
Being a good ally for women goes beyond being a “nice guy.” Learning about the subtle ways you may be negatively impacting the women in your life, and doing so readily will only benefit you, and the people around you. In fact, you may find yourself being a guiding light for other men in your life. Being knowledgeable about these topics can help you teach the people around you.
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