Hayley Matthews: Ignore the haters – I prefer empowered women who empower women

I almost couldn’t believe it’s been a year since I last hosted the Scottish Women’s Awards with Oceanic. I was heavily pregnant when I turned up to a room full of inspiring women last year at the Crown Plaza in Glasgow and I was delighted to be hosting again during the week –and what a night!

Saturday, 31st August 2019, 6:00 am
Larah Bross, like Hayley, believes that people should build each other up and work together. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

It was such a special occasion and I often think back on that night and muse over amazing women talking about their achievements. It’s something I don’t think we do enough in this country, and that’s exactly the conversation I had with friend Larah Bross, owner of Bross Bagels, who won Highly Commended at the awards.

We chatted about how amazing it is when people build each other up and work together. However, I do realise that it’s a very Scottish thing to find it hard to shout about our achievements.

Too often I hear women putting themselves down and, even worse, women tearing down other women. Snide remarks and comments towards women trying to do well always leaves me feeling uncomfortable. If I was more confident I’d call them out instead of wincing in silence.

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I remember an occasion when a young woman I know with kids had started selling beauty products online. I saw a woman pushing herself, trying to make an income while ­juggling motherhood using the resources available to her. Yet, a comment from another woman left me surprised.

She said in front of several women how she only watched the young mum’s videos for a laugh and asked us: “Would any of you ever buy any make up from her anyway? I mean, look at her”. With such a sharp tongue I’m surprised her comments didn’t leave her with a scar on her face.

It’s pretty brutal when you think about it. What harm is that young woman doing to anyone by selling face cream and make-up? Surely trying to make a better life for herself and her kids should be celebrated, not bitched about?

How sad if all some have to do with their time is to mock and ridicule their fellow females to make themselves feel better. We should be building up our fellow women and I’m so tired of saying it. Could you imagine a world where we all finally understand the benefits of positive encouragement for each other, stepping away from our insecurities, putting our own jealously aside and cheering on those doing well? What a powerhouse the female of the species would be.

I tend to stay away from these sharp-tongued women now because I have no time for them tearing down women trying to achieve, no matter how small that may be. Instead, I thrive on spending time around encouraging, strong and ­successful women, so to be hosting another Scottish Women’s Awards has been an absolute delight. It feels good to hear women tell stories of success and to see them beaming from ear to ear on receiving an award for their achievements. I genuinely believe empowered women empower women and those are the women for me.