Sisterhood: The Value of Women Coming Together

· March 1, 2018

A sisterhood is a social, ethical, and emotional pact between women. It’s based on an understanding that together we are stronger than we are as individuals. That empowerment is only possible if we come together and treat each other as sisters, not opponents. It’s a relationship based on our value as a collective, determined to make true change in the world.

We’ve been hearing a lot about this word lately: sisterhood. It is evermore present in our language. However, the term is actually over 50 years old. It was in 1970 that writer Kate Millett, leader of the feminist movement at the time, proposed the word. Her goal was to name the thing she was striving for every day as a ferocious activist. That is, social union among women regardless of class, religion, or ethnicity.

Sisterhood is an ethical, political and practical term of contemporary feminism. It gives a sense of female complicity that seeks to make social change. 

Under the motto, “Women of the world, unite!”, Millet coined the word “sisterhood.” It is an inspiring idea. And it isn’t just an inspiring label; it seeks to actually strengthen us as a collective and push us forward. It envisions us making change in our everyday life.

Anthropologist Marcela Lagarde refined the concept a bit further. She spoke of a friendship between women who become accomplices in order to work together. A commitment to success by being free and strong together.

Four women with hair all braided together.

Sisterhood as female empathy, as collective growth

Being born, growing up and being taught in a society still weighed down by the patriarchy has its price. One of them is seeing other women as rivals or competitors. It’s not uncommon to see women criticize each other quite harshly in schools and workplaces.

We build walls and obstacles for each other, ending up with pointless animosity. Instead of empowering each other, we tear each other down. Almost without noticing it, we’re losing this alliance that was such a big part of our past.

In the past, women shared a lot more than we do now. We lived as a firm collective focused on helping each other and nourishing each other, both emotionally and psychologically. Older generations gave wise advice to the younger ones. The jobs of raising children, harvesting and gathering were shared, as well as natural medicine.

Maybe we were all just a bunch of witches. Maybe we were artisans of nature and ancient wisdom gathering in the infamous “red tent” during menstruation. Sharing stories, synchronizing our cycles and planting seeds of affection into the soil of our souls to become, together, more valuable every day. Valuable to ourselves and to the world. Stronger as mothers, as sisters and daughters of life, building authentic sisterhood.

The sisterhood allows us to recover our power as women who nurture ourselves and others. We are givers of empathy, receivers of sorority. It’s a bond where together we are better than apart.

Sisterhood: four naked women, colorful and free.

How to foster true sisterhood

The female conscience we delighted in centuries ago has been lost over time. Despite the fact that we positively value our friendships, that genuine bond doesn’t feel like a collective focused on making change.

The concept of sisterhood goes much further than friendship. We’re talking about a sisterhood, female complicity, an ethical, shared principle. It’s based upon having a transformation mentality, as well as social awareness that isn’t limited to just holding a sign every once in a while at a rally.

The sisterhood is a revolution that happens from the inside out. First, by getting aware of who you are, what you deserve and what is not right in a society that is unfortunately still a patriarchy.

Then, this conscience should be shared with each woman we come across in our day-to-day lives. Supporting them, inspiring them, and repairing fragmented femininity with our eyes looking toward mutual empowerment.

Women sitting around a fire.

Demand the right mentality from yourself

Last but not least, it’s important to point out that the sisterhood demands constant criticism and self-criticism. Sometimes we do things that actually harm the idea of sisterhood and feminism. Maybe it’s by questioning other women. By thinking that a coworker got the raise by doing “something”. Or by doubting that stranger who reported an assault.

Sisterhood is solidarity. It means creating a network of support among us in order to help and claim real changes. Let’s do it. Let’s believe in it.