Why I Value My Women Friends More and More

By Sallie Krawcheck

At Ellevest, we often talk about how our women friends can be our superpower.

And I love seeing that this is true for so many people. Because believe me, I’ve lived the opposite, when for years I was the only woman in the room, or in my department. 

I’ve also had my share of gut punches from other women: like the senior woman who told me she'd advise me through a tricky transition, but certainly didn’t. She kept insisting that everything was going well, but handed me my walking papers from across the table when I was “reorg’ed” out. 

And there was the senior woman venture capitalist who told me that she simply wasn’t going to invest in women start-up CEOs because she’d fought so hard to get where she was and didn’t feel like she needed to fight the gender fight for others. 

Look … I get it. 

If someone feels like there’s scarcity — too few seats at the table for women, a fight for investment dollars, too little time — it’s only human nature to play defense. In fact, I remember a woman who used to run seminars on gender equality telling me that she would always ask a room full of professional women, “Who here has received a sharp elbow from another woman at work?” All the hands would go up. She would then ask, “Who themselves has thrown a sharp elbow to another woman at work?” And no hands would go up. But I’ll say it: There have certainly been times when I have let other women down, with the not-enough-time, I’ve-got-to-get-home-to-be-with-the-kids, and I-have-too-many-mentees-already responses. 

That said, while change can be slow, our collective mentality is certainly shifting. 

For many of us, I would guess that the loneliness and stress of the pandemic — when we were each going through our own personal challenges, all at the same time — helped us value our women friends more and more. To me, my women friends are my band of sisters, the ones who have been knocked down a few times and keep going, the ones who use the hard work they’ve put in and the political capital they’ve built to fight for the next generation of women.

Notably, having these types of “work friends” has been shown to increase a woman’s chance of success: We not only need broad, diverse networks (just as men do), but also a tighter group of closer relationships. And that makes intuitive sense to me, to have the people in your life who get what you’re going through as a woman in the workplace, who can work through the “Am I losing it?” moments, and the “I need a pep talk” moments, and the “Should I quit?” moments.

I often talk about how women receive (subtle) societal messages that business is an individual sport: Think of all of the books about how to get ahead, how to get the raise, how to be your own boss. Very individually focused. 

Ellevest was founded, in part, on the view that playing the game as a “team sport” means that we can be each other’s financial wellness superpowers. 

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Sallie Krawcheck

Sallie Krawcheck is the Founder & CEO of Ellevest.