When Women Help Women

When women help women, what happens? Two things. One, we save the world. Two, we create stories to tell, like you’ll find here.
 
When I wrote my post about women being morbid sometimes, I didn’t anticipate the comments section filling with so many brave and heartbreaking stories. It’s overwhelming to hear what women have been though, especially knowing there is no end in sight. Women have been through a lot, which is the understatement of the year.
 
As I read through the comments I remembered another personal experience I had filed away in my memory. One summer I took a solo trip down the Oregon coast. As I checked into the hotel a man was alone in the lobby, also waiting to check in. The woman behind the counter handed me my room keys, looked me directly in the eye, slid a piece of paper across the desk and said loudly, “Just write the name of the other person staying in your room here please.” It took me a minute to realize what she was doing. She was protecting me. She didn’t want the man to know I was staying at the hotel alone.
 
I started thinking about how much women look out for each other and how we don’t often share those stories. Women helping women is not new, it’s not remarkable, it’s just what we do, and it comes in many forms.
 
Women driving women.
Sometimes, it’s about friendship. When my friend was moving from Seattle to Boise with her newborn baby and needed help getting there, I drove her. It didn’t matter that the trip took twice as long as it should have, or that we stopped every hour, got no sleep, and yelled at each other out of stress and fatigue. It didn’t even matter if we were still friends at the end of trip. (We were!) The only thing that mattered was that she and her baby arrived safely at their new home. (They did!)
 
Women assisting women.
Sometimes when women help women it’s less serious but let me tell you, it’s still important. One Friday night I was in the bathroom at a local bar late into happy hour when I noticed a women freshening her make up, and heading for the door. Then I noticed something else. I touched her arm and urgently said, “Wait!” I reached down and ripped a piece of toilet paper off of her shoe. Her eyes got wide and she said, “Oh my gosh, thank you!” and gave me a huge hug. (See? Still important!)
 
Women rescuing women.
Years ago, on a dark and rainy night in Seattle, my girlfriend and I came across two women whose car had stalled in the middle of the road. They were blocking traffic and no one had stopped to help them, so we did. The issue appeared to be the battery so we pulled out our jumper cables, (because women are amazing and we carry jumper cables,) successfully jumped their engine, and went on our way. (And no, we would not have stopped to help men, that is just the truth.)
 
Women feeding women.
I saw this on Twitter yesterday and it warmed my heart: “In my neighborhood right now a woman is bringing soup to another woman, a stranger, who’s at home with a sick infant.” One of the main responses I received when I asked my friends and followers how women help other women was about food. (Of course!) Women show up with food after friends have babies, lose loved ones, or have just had a day. Sometimes they even make you sandwiches when you’re leaving their house for a long drive home. We cook, we bake, we deliver.
 
Women guiding women.
Another theme, and maybe the most important, was women sharing their wisdom with each other. On this topic, the words of my friend capture it best. In reference to a woman’s group she’s part of, she said this:

I think we help each other through our current phases of life. The older women remind us that the crap now will pass. People share stories of really complicated marriages that remind us that no one has it all together. I feel like it’s a lot of feminine wisdom gathered in a space with the goal of listening to each other, sharing ourselves and providing support. It’s pretty awesome.

There are so, so, so, many stories about women being abused and harassed. We know this and we need to keep talking it. But, there are also so many stories about women helping women. We need to talk about those too.
 
Share your stories! When have women helped, protected, rescued, fed, and guided you?
 

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14 Comments

  1. Heather on December 15, 2017 at 2:14 am

    Honestly, I just love when women are kind to each other. In a world so rife with toxic girl-on-girl hate, I find is so impactful when women compliment and support each other.
    Another great post, Courtney!



  2. Ramona Spires on December 15, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Hello Courtney. I thought this was such a touching post. I love the thought of women supporting each other. Unfortunately for me, I do not see that as much as I would like. When women support each other is a beautiful thing.



    • Courtney A. Casto on December 15, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      Thanks Ramona! It seems like a discussion on how women have hurt each other might be something I should explore here. When we don’t support each other it hurts. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts!



  3. Beth on December 15, 2017 at 9:17 am

    I love this! We do focus so much on the negative sometimes, it is nice to focus on the positive and how women are good at helping other women. So many great examples here!



  4. Theresa on December 15, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Another great post!

    I think it is so important to move past the idea that women are catty to each other or constantly in competition with each other. I feel lucky that I have rarely had a friendship with a woman like this — and even my encounters with strangers don’t feed into this myth. Women need to look out for each other and support each other and, perhaps most important, trust each other to do the right thing. It starts with living by example.

    I could give so many examples of women in my life — past and present, old and young — who have guided me or helped me. But to share one personal story, this past summer I had emergency surgery (all is fine now) that happened literally days after I had moved out of my apartment to head out on a year-long international voyage (I’ll give the quick version — the long version is at my blog, if anyone cares!) I’m single and don’t have family in the area I normally live in AND I was now homeless. I was blown away by how many women (and men, too, I should add) stepped up and helped me out. One friend even came with me to the hospital at 4:30 in the morning and refused to leave until I went in to surgery. I had a whole list of contacts — people to pick me up and back-up people to pick me up — and the doctors and nurses kept saying to my friend, “Are you C?” (The person who was designated to pick me up.) My friend said, “I’m not C, but I can be her right now; it’s a group effort.”

    I often live life feeling pretty alone, especially when challenges arise, and it was such an important time for me to realize that I am not alone — that I know so many women (and yes, men) who will step up.



    • Courtney A. Casto on December 15, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      I will definitely read your story Theresa. It sounds intense! You are lucky to have such a great network. A good friend is one who knows what you need even when you don’t!



  5. Kimberly on December 15, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    My women tribe left me when I fell ill – twice.
    Apparently mental illness is either catchy or super scary or makes women feel really uncomfortable.
    That’s why I write and speak out so that other women don’t feel alone like they made me –



    • Courtney A. Casto on December 15, 2017 at 2:56 pm

      I’m so glad you speak out and share your stories. I’ve been hurt and abandoned by women in the past so I certainly know what that feels like. I think it’s worth exploring in another post because while I want to celebrate women today, there is definitely a need to talk about how we hurt each other and what to do when that happens.



  6. Lecy | A Simpler Grace on December 16, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    I love this so much. I’ve always been a believer in supporting other women and we need more of it in this world.



  7. Bexa on December 17, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Brilliant post Courtney! I think it’s so important that women support women and create a strong encouraging community. Thank you for sharing this! Great post xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com



  8. Lisa | Simple Life Experiment on December 18, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    This is such a wonderful post, Courtney! I love those feel-good moments when it feels like the world isn’t such a bad place after all. My most memorable women-helping-women experience was when my husband and I flew over to France for our wedding earlier this year, and my sister-in-law and her group of close girlfriends really blew me away with their kindness and friendship. I had never met any of them before, not even my sister-in-law, and they treated me as if I was an old friend. They included me in all their social events and girls’ nights (including a special bachelorette night planned just for me), basically organised the whole wedding for us and on our wedding day they rallied around me and did my hair and make up. It’s hard to describe how much it meant to me, especially since I was feeling so much anxiety about the whole trip. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. It was an experience that made me so much more aware of the sisterhood and mindful of how important it is to be there for other women when they need it, because I have now experienced first-hand how much of a difference it can make.



    • Courtney A. Casto on December 19, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      That is such a sweet story Lisa! Thank you for sharing!



  9. Maggie on December 29, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    I was trying to explain all of this stuff over the holiday to my brother. All the ways women look out for each other, and the sort of unspoken girl code that exists even between women who don’t necessarily like each other. It’s such an amazing thing.



  10. San on January 5, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Often it’s said that women are “bitches” around each other because they’re always in competition (for what? Men’s attention?), but I think that is not true…. because so often, I see how women lift other women up and it’s a remarkable thing to see.