how female friendship can be a political act

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I wake up to 47 WhatsApp notifications on my phone. Three of my closest girlfriends have been busy overnight, chatting through life problems from different time zones. The first thing I do with my day is fondly roll my eyes and catch up: one of the girls needs advice on how to deal with a promotion she’s been offered without a definite pay rise or title change. The others have leapt in with practical suggestions, a timely reminder that she needs to know her own worth at work and a string of dancing lady emojis. Sleepily, I key in my best advice and send them a photo of my dog, Bert, for a little extra support.

Little exchanges of love, pragmatism and strength like this are happening all over the world – via WhatsApp, over a glass of rosé, in office bathrooms, at brunch, in book clubs, on walks, on the phone, at Pilates, nursing a cup of tea. Women are negotiating the experience of being female with one another, one enthusiastic hug, text message, piece of advice, heart-eyes emoji, reality check or whispered confession at a time.

We are working out how to get the jobs we want, whether to become mothers, how to look after our children and our parents, what to text a date who ghosts us, how to get Steve in accounting to stop calling us “pet”, what constitutes emotional abuse, if we should freeze our eggs, how to tell someone we’re not romantically interested in them, when to report harassment, what to say in that important work email, how to survive a break-up and what to wear to that all-important date/TV appearance/job interview/party. These chats can be joyous and helpful and life-saving – and they’re where some of our best political action is happening.

Read more at Future Women.