“A 2007 study by the Workplace Bullying Institute found that 37 percent of the US workforce reported being bullied at work. Among those who mistreat their co-workers, women were more likely to target other women (71 percent), compared men who bully other men (44 percent.)” “It’s a dirty little secret among women that we don’t support one another,” said Susan Shapiro Barash, who teaches gender studies at Marymount Manhattan College and is author of Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth About Women and Rivalry and Toxic Friend: The Antidote for Women Stuck in COmplicated Relationships.
A perfect example of this unfortunate phenomenon is former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, the Republican Senate candidate in California, attacking Democratic incumbent, Senator Barbara Boxer’s hair in a recent TV interview.
“God, what is that hair? So yesterday,” she said, thinking her microphone was off.
As a man who has attended an all-women’s college for three years and has spent most of his life working in industries dominated by women, I have seen this lack of support amongst women firsthand. In middle school, it’s called the “mean girl syndrome.”
And yes, I have known many, many women who are greatly supportive of one another. And yes, not every woman would deign to insult the hairstyle of a competitor.
But if these statistics are to be believed. it’s much more likely for a woman to attempt to undercut another woman than a man to do the same.
And now that I have a daughter who will enter the workforce in about twenty years, my concern over this disparity has increased exponentially.
Women have enough challenges with glass ceilings and unequal pay to be making it more difficult on one another.
You have two decades to straighten this situation out, ladies, before my daughter is standing amongst your ranks.
Can I be of any assistance?