Rachel Sanoff
Updated September 14, 2016 3:47 pm
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As we all sadly know, getting ahead as women in the workplace is not easy — especially when women’s ideas are often ignored until a man says the same thing. And of course, he gets all the credit.

But that’s where shine theory comes in.

Shine theory refers to the practice of viewing successful women as friends and inspiration, leading women to lift each other up, rather than treat each other as competition.


We can practice shine theory in our own lives when we recommend our female friends to jobs, promote their accomplishments on social media, help them with their job applications, etc.

Shine theory belongs in every workplace — and Obama’s female staffers have executed one of the finest examples of shine theory ever.

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As noted by The Cut, when President Obama first took office, his senior staffers and cabinet were mostly men. Thankfully, there is now an even amount of men and women top aides — but that likely stems from the incredible actions taken by his female staffers.

Yesterday, the Washington Post published an article detailing the work lives of women in the White House. Anita Dunn, formerly the White House communications director, told the Post:

And other staffers explained that they would have to ask men to include them in important meetings. So when they finally got into the meetings, what did they do?

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A former Obama aide who spoke to the Post anonymously added:

And it truly made a difference. She continued to say that President Obama noticed, and started to call on more women aides during the meetings.