The Importance of Sisterhood Throughout History and Today

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “sisterhood” is defined as (1) the state of being a sister, (2) a community or society of sisters, and (3) the solidarity of women based on shared conditions, experiences, or concerns. Sisterhood has a different meaning to every person, but in general, sisterhood as a concept and as a practice has been crucial in the history of women’s rights and feminism and to this day as well.

To me, I associate sisterhood with my sorority, Delta Delta Delta. Although sororities have an unjust stigma of being purely about partying and “paying for friends”, they play an important role not just today but in history. Many sororities, including Tri Delta, were founded in the late 19th century when women gradually began attending formerly all-male universities. The women in college at this time were not welcomed, let alone respected, by their male classmates, so the women sought to create small groups for friendship and support.

Sisterhood is greater than friendship because it is unconditional and forever. You do not need to be best friends with your sisters – you support each other no matter what. In sororities, you all live under the same values as well and push each other to be the best versions of yourselves. That power makes sisterhoods unbreakable.

In our society, sisterhood is so much more important than brotherhood. This is because, despite slow progress, we live in a male-dominated world. Men have always had brotherhood, but women had to fight for sisterhood. In order to fight for the right to vote, against their role in the domestic sphere, and for equal rights to this day, women have had to team up in organizations.

Photo by Shannon Stapleton

Generally, when we think about the women’s rights movement, we may think of Susan B. Anthony, but usually, no other names come to mind. This is not due to few leaders, but rather, because women shared the leadership. Many women played small roles in various ways to contribute to the effort.

This idea of sisterhood and a team effort still carries through to today. Take the Women’s March for example – women across the country marching in solidarity with their “sisters” for the same cause.

The #MeToo movement is also a prime example. According to a 2018 survey done by Stop Street Harassment, 81% of women experienced sexual harassment or assault in their lifetime.  However, many of those women did not speak out about their experiences until a mass amount did so. With the support of each other, women began to speak up. That’s sisterhood right there.

Research and scientific studies have proven that women actually need female friendships to thrive. This Huffington Post article explains that when women participate in friendships with other women, their stress levels decrease, differing from how men biologically operate. Additionally, women with breast cancer were found to live longer when they had a strong, supportive group of friends than when they lived in isolation.

Sisterhood has many forms, but whatever form it takes – through a sorority, political organization, or simple friendship – it is crucial to women’s advancement in society. As a college woman, you don’t necessarily need to join a sorority to find sisterhood. Just find a group of strong women, whether it be a club, sport, or some great friends, that are ready to empower you.

 

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