Ugh: More Women Being Bullied at Work By Female BossesJennifer Still

Women have come a long way in the professional world over the past several decades – more of us are holding senior managerial positions, we’re branching out into STEM careers, we’re basically kicking all kinds of ass. It’s great! But things are still far from perfect when it comes to our work lives, and now it seems the people making it hardest on women are… other women?!

According to a new survey by Opportunity Now of 23,000 women living and working in the UK, over 50 percent have been bullied or harassed by fellow female employees. That’s a staggering percentage, and many women feel that they’ve received such treatment because their colleagues felt threatened by their abilities. In fact, one in four women polled said that they had been purposely overloaded with work, excessively criticized, over-supervised or a combination of the three.

These statistics are awful enough on their own, and that’s without taking into consideration that one in eight women have experienced unwanted sexual harassment in the form of suggestive comments, physical contact, asking for sexual favors or sending offensive emails or texts. It’s pretty clear that women have a long way to go.

We’re also subjected to with the pressure to choose between career advancement and – for those who choose it – having a family. Women often feel unsupported when attempting to combine the two and have found that climbing the ladder is not encouraged the way it for with men as it’s assumed that they will eventually have children and leave their respective field. Sounds ridiculous – and it most certainly is for many women – but unfortunately, it’s a real problem. Over 75 percent of women said they were worried about their career prospects after having children. In comparison, only a third of men had the same concerns. Something doesn’t seem quite right there.

Because the battle to find equality regardless of gender is one we’ve waged for decades and will continue for as long as it takes, it’s more important than ever that women show solidarity both professionally and personally. While the system has created an ever-more competitive environment in the workplace, the worst thing we can do is undermine our progress by turning against one another to try and get ahead. That behavior helps no one and actually takes us several steps back, disempowering us and doing the work for the misogynists who would aim to keep women out of high-powered positions.

Featured image via ShutterStock

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  1. This is definitely (unfortunately) true. I had to leave my previous job because of a year and a half of abuse from fellow female employees and they weren’t even in the same department as I was! The main abuser (I suppose that’s the word to use?) was someone I’d considered a friend, but she began spreading rumors about me being antisocial and not having any friends (as though this was a reason to laugh at me and feel bad for me, but in a “let’s point and laugh at her pathetic-ness” way). I’m used to being made fun of – I always was as a kid – but I was 23 at the time and am 25 now and high school was a LONG time ago. This was all while my grandmother was dying at my home with my family and so I didn’t have much time for friends, although I was always mentioning going out with everyone and hanging out……of course, when it happened, my boyfriend and I – who was just a friend at the time – began spending time together and then dating and then she really freaked out. She and other girls in this other department got us both written up for things we never did or said (they didn’t approve of the relationship even though we kept it a secret and were strictly friends in the workplace), and I was even asked if I lost my v-card to him….IN FRONT OF PEOPLE AT WORK! Worst part was that my supervisor (a male) favored those girls and wouldn’t listen to me and I was basically deemed a social pariah. I even complained to HR about abuse and nothing was done. After all of that I finally left and my boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half and we are madly in love which is awesome….but I can never go back there without feeling bitterness. I now work with only 1 woman and the rest are guys, and it is BLISS. No drama and no cattiness. I never want to work in an environment with other women again. It sucks, because we should all want to be together and help each other.