Apparently in recognition of Women’s History Month, Ariane Hunter writes about “9 ways freelance women can help each other get ahead” .
OK, I’d like to know about this.
First of all, I was totally baffled by Hunter’s assertion that stupid men “think that women are competitive, jealous of each other, and gossipy”. She thinks women are more likely to think “when she wins, we all win”.
For someone who has spent decades fighting stupid stereotypes about women being “nurturing” and “soft” and otherwise not suitable for real work and business, I’m simply floored by Hunter’s starting point. She repeats the patriarchal stereotypes backwards, as if this were a significant discovery.
Look, people are capable of behaving many ways, the question is what is the best way to act. So let’s check out her nine ways.
The first thing to say is that her list is a perfectly reasonable set of collaborative, mutually helpful behaviors—for anyone. I like the list, but I don’t see anything particularly female of feminine about them.
Share, connect, listen, say positive things, do business with good people. These are great things to do.
Furthermore, these are great things for freelancers to do with and for other freelancers the know. All independent workers face loneliness and isolation, so the connection and generous attention of other freelancers is a powerful good.
So I think you could change this article to be 9 ways freelancers women can help each other get ahead”. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have read that article many times.
There is one thing that does stand out to me, though. Many of these behaviors could have very different interpretation and reception when the giver and receiver are male or female. For example, unsolicited sharing and connecting might have a totally different feel when an older man is “connecting” or “sharing” with younger women (or vice versa). I’m sorry to have to say it, but it may be easier for women to help each other than for workers in general to help other workers.
On a more positive note, a coworking community is actually a much safer space for these kinds of positive interactions between workers. A coworking community is a group of “like-minded peers”, with similar interests and relatively little difference in social power and status. So, inside a coworking space there are expectations that the interactions will be positive and supportive, and that “when one succeeds, we all succeed.”
From this point of view, this is one of the most important benefits of joining a coworking community. A coworking space can be a place were everyone can and do help each other, all the time, regardless of gender.
No wonder coworking makes workers happy.
- Ariane Hunter, 9 ways freelance women can help each other get ahead, in Freelancers Union Blog. 2019. https://blog.freelancersunion.org/2019/03/13/9-ways-freelance-women-can-help-each-other-get-ahead/