Women bullying women

Feb 26 2009 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Women-on-women harassment in the workplace may sound funny to some, or even be the source of jokes, but it's hardly a laughing matter. In fact, trauma (physical and mental) among women in the workplace is becoming a serious enough problem that it's finally being discussed in a very public way Ė and it's about time!

The story told in the article mentioned in the above link is simply astounding. It's true that jackass bosses exist everywhere and we have to try to navigate such waters carefully otherwise we'd switch jobs every other month. But there comes a limit to how much abusive treatment a human can or should take (which in my opinion is none).

Reading the stories of women bosses treating other women like dirt, I have to wonder if it's some misguided birthright to which these women bosses feel entitled. Is this a case of "well, I had to endure it as I made my way up the chain, so you should too!" or a "I sacrificed a family life to get where I am, and you chose not to, how dare you?"

A psychologist in the article brings up a great point: don't try and analyze the bosses' motives, ladies. What's important is getting help and getting out of an abusive professional relationship.

Don't believe for a second that abusive relationships can only exist in couples in private life; there's very much a different kind of relationship with our colleagues that can be equally abusive Ė even if primarily emotional. Rather than let a problem fester, women should try their level best to be assertive and to raise red flags whenever it is necessary. Most bullies only get away with what they think they can get away with. Confronted by an adversary, they often quickly shrink.

Women managers simply have no right to hang their past experiences and mistreatment on a new generation of women in the workplace. Fortunately, society agrees and there are now laws to help prevent that, even if the heroine of our article didn't really get much benefit from them.