Gillian Harvey: Why women are amazing

Read the latest column from freelance writer, author and mum-of-five Gillian Harvey.

To all the talented ladies reading this column: I’d like you to do one thing for me. Reach around and give yourself an enormous pat on the back (although try not to pull any muscles in the process).

Because you, my friend, are absolutely blummin’ amazing.

If (like a lot of us) you feel tempted to bat away this compliment with a ‘you don’t really know me’ or ‘aw, no I’m not’ then DON’T. First, because we should all acknowledge our own strengths (after all, we are the FIRST to point out our own weaknesses) and secondly because it’s absolutely, 100% true.

Think about it. How many times have you offered help to a stranger in the last month, or week even? Whether in a forum, or on your Facebook page or in real life? I’m willing to bet you’ve actually lost count. And each and every time you’ve given your time to someone you don’t know, with no ulterior motive and no expectation of reward, you’ve done something absolutely amazing.

I’ve been thinking about all the things I have to be grateful for in 2020 – which, let’s face it, has been a bit of a disaster of the year. And one of the things that kept popping into my mind was all the people who have supported me and raised me up when I needed it.

I realised that 99% of these ‘people’ are women.

Like many of us, I’m in various groups online – writers’ groups, journalist groups, mummy groups, friendship groups – and without exception I’ve been supported by women from each and every one during the bleak months of 2020.

Whether it’s been reviewing my book, taking part in a promotional authors’ panel, featuring me on their website or offering advice and guidance, women have stepped forward to help.

I’ve realised, too, that I’ve done some ‘reaching out’ of my own. I’ve offered support to strangers having mental health struggles on Twitter, I’ve written articles about authors who may otherwise have not gained the exposure. I’ve read books outside of my comfort zone and offered advice to mums having a hard day.

Yep, I’ve had the odd ‘amazing’ moment myself.

Women are often portrayed in fiction or the press as rivals – jealously warring away, trying to outdo one another. Yet the truth is, more often than not, we’re offering kindness and support. We’re raising others up simply because we can.

Hurrah for us!

Gillian Harvey is a writer and mum-of-five. Her debut novel Everything is Fine is out now.