Sometimes only other women understand what it's like to be a woman in the world. For spiritual connection, a sense of belonging, and support in these circumstances, women progressively turn to form supportive women's circles. We - women - all possess the feminine energy, which creates infinite possibilities for creativity in many forms. But to achieve tremendous success, it is essential to have a closely knitted group of friends that encourages you to be the best version of yourself.
While having a close-knit group of trustworthy friends is essential for everyone's wellbeing, women, in particular, get more support and encouragement from their women circle. Much research has been conducted on female friendships' emotional support and stabilizing power. The findings repeatedly demonstrate how meaningful these friendships are to women's overall success and wellbeing, from their adolescent years to adulthood.
An influential study published in 2000 by Shelly E. Taylor, Ph.D. and a distinguished professor in the department of psychology at UCLA, found out that females were more likely to deal with stress by "tending and befriending" -- that is, nurturing those around them and reaching out to others. This is different from the classical “fight or flight” theory we all know. "Tending involves nurturant activities designed to protect the self and offspring that promote safety and reduce distress; befriending is the creation and maintenance of social networks that may aid in this process," write researchers.
Females were more likely to deal with stress by "tending and befriending" -- that is, nurturing those around them and reaching out to others.
Why do women "tend and befriend" instead of "fight or flight"? The reason, in large part, is oxytocin combined with female reproductive hormones, explained researchers in the study. Men, on the other hand, with smaller amounts of oxytocin, lean toward the tried and true fight or flight response when it comes to stress -- either bottling it up and escaping, or fighting back.
Being connected to other women will not only make you cope with stress better, but also achieve more. Another study conducted by the Kellogg School of Management revealed that women who have a strong inner circle of female friends with whom they can exchange career advice are almost three times more likely to land better jobs than women without such a network. In fact, 77% of the study's highest-achieving women had close relationships with two to three other women.
77% of the study's highest-achieving women had close relationships with two to three other women.
Additional findings revealed by the authors explain that “the gender composition of [women] network significantly predicts their job placement level”. An anticipated job placement level of women with a female-dominated circle was 2.5 levels higher than women with a male-dominated one. Interestingly, the study revealed that the composition of men’s networks didn’t matter for job placement. “This pattern most likely occurs because men don’t need the kind of gender-related private information that women need to navigate male-dominated professions”.
Outside of network effects, we all know that having a good friend at work can help you perform better! You can freshen up the tedious and repetitive workday with meal breaks, gossip, and some small talk over coffee if you can find a woman you can appreciate and who shares your aspirations. Even the most mundane tasks may become enjoyable when accompanied by one of your girlfriends. Besides, seeing a female coworker succeed on a project, network effectively, or get promoted can inspire you to push yourself a little more each day because female representation is a powerful motivator.
Your female coworkers can offer you exceptional support and entertainment during the workday, but if you don't feel connected to any women in your office, don't worry. You can always look for a mentor or a friend outside of the office in the communities you belong to who can offer you valuable opportunities and advice.
All in all, building your strong women's circle is a key to success both professionally and personally. That’s what Les Amis is all about - a trusted network of ambitious women who jointly achieve more, feel better, and change the world.