Women in El Paso and across the country have been posting black and white photos of themselves with the hashtag #challengeaccepted as a show of activism and solidarity with other women.  In some cases, the post includes who nominated them and which woman or women they nominate in turn.  Others have taken it further and are encouraging donations to organizations that benefit women.

It’s no surprise that these posts come on the heels of the high-profile response by United States Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in which she called out a male colleague for calling her a “f*cking b*tch” on the steps of the US Capital.  In my opinion, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez defended not only herself but women in general strongly and eloquently.  This is also not a political issue, but sadly something that women of all ages, races, and political affiliations encounter.

I’ve been lucky enough to work for and with amazing women over the years and I can honestly say my professional life wouldn’t be as fun and complete as it has been without them.  If I can share some basic knowledge with some of these knuckleheads, maybe it’ll lead to having one less person making life difficult for women in general.

What I’m listing below are all things that have led to me having healthy and fun working relationships with women but it also applies to interacting with anybody in general.

  • If your mother, sister, or daughter would be disappointed if they knew exactly what you were expressing, maybe don’t say or write those things. More importantly, maybe take a closer look at yourself and try and figure out what your issues are.
  • A woman being smart and strong does not make them a b*tch.
  • If you have not already, chances are that you will eventually find yourself working for/being supervised by a woman at some point. It’s OK.  Believe it or not, it’s really not any different than working for a man.
  • Disagreements are bound to happen, when discussing, be respectful and keep the conversation to the relevant issues that are causing the friction. Don’t get personal.  If you value having and keeping people’s respect, don’t ever say “it must be due to it being that time of the month”.  That’s a sorry excuse for whatever the real issues may be, and you know it.
  • If you offer to help a woman with anything, do it simply because it’s a nice thing to do, not because you think that they can’t do it for themselves.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask a woman for help, especially in the workplace. If you’re working together, she got hired for the same reasons you did, she has knowledge and skills that are valuable to the company.  Tap into that knowledge and take advantage of the opportunity to learn from people, regardless of their gender.
  • If you’re truly threatened by anybody’s presence, that’s your short coming and not theirs. It’s the sign of a fragile ego.  Work on improving yourself instead of trying to bring another person down.

None of what's above has ever made me feel like less of a man.  If I wanted to simplify it further, all I really have to say is don’t be a jerk and you’ll be doing your small part to make this world better.

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