Written for A Room of our Own
I See You
Women work hard.
Women are creative, literate, passionate & skilled.
We are also erased constantly. I know friends who have had their work stolen, appropriated without any credit given.
It’s not hard to say, “can I use this?” and then credit the woman who created it.
I know women who have had their writing stolen, powerpoints, research, contributions, ideas. Even tweets.
It needs to stop.
The idea of women working collectively is maybe not as popular as it used to be, but we need to re-adopt this attitude. You don’t have to physically work in a collective to have that approach. If you run any organisation, campaign or business the chances are that you have done that with the help of other women. Women who tweet for you, women who do research for you, women who write for you, women who offer technical support. Women step forward and offer their help and expertise all the time. And they are often expected to work for nothing.
And sometimes, you can’t pay them. But you can acknowledge them and credit them.
If you ignore those women who offered their help to get something started then you effectively tread on them and erase them. Living under patriarchy means that, throughout history, women’s achievements have been ignored or stolen by men and then passed off as their own. We know this continues to happen and we expect it from men. I don’t expect it or accept it, from women.
To make sure you don’t unknowingly erase another woman’s work or achievement, just follow this easy guide;
1) Always acknowledge that your work was not done in a vacuum. That many of your achievements probably would not have been possible without other women stepping up to help you.
2) Don’t use women’s work without crediting them. If you’re writing an article or a blog post and you use another woman’s writing, say so. Just say it. No one will think any less of you. In fact, they will probably think more of you.
3) Don’t forget women. If success comes knocking at your door, remember that you didn’t do anything alone. Don’t take all the credit.
Taking credit for another woman’s work is erasure. We know it and you know and we see what you’re doing.
To those women who have had their work erased, we see you, we acknowledge you and we thank you.
Opinionated Planet: a radical feminist blog by women for women on male violence, women-only spaces and sports