Women and the Workplace: Issues they Face
Women in the Workplace
For decades, women have been striving to be created equal. We have tried time and time again to break the "glass ceiling". It is much harder than it sounds. Luckily, as of late, there has been media attention on pay issues with male pay vs. female pay, and also sexual harassment issues. There is one issue that remains not in the spotlight yet; woman on woman crime. I call this "crime" because with how hard women strive to get ahead in our careers and to be treated equally, we shouldn't be pitting ourselves against out fellow female. We shouldn't be making a competition out of this. We should be helping each other get ahead, succeed, and patting each other on the back when something great happens. When something great happens to one of us, soon it will break that glass ceiling and let it happen to all.
Unfortunately, women are all bunched together when we are as different as snowflakes. That means one bad apple can ruin it for all women and set us back with all the things we have achieved or have been trying to achieve.
Mean Girls (Adult Women??)
Adult Women "Mean Girls"
We all went through high school. Most of us had all experienced some sort of bullying and/or harassment. It is, unfortunately, a "rite of passage" in high school to get out of it and move on, which most do. We go to college, have an amazing experience, and are on our own for the first time. Then we grow into adulthood, enter the real world with paying bills, apartments, and the search of our identity and career in our twenties.
Some women move into the corporate world and have great experiences. Some have okay experiences when they are in a male dominated field, my friends experienced this and I did not envy them at all. No one really talks about the issues women find when they are successful in their careers, not necessarily in a male dominated one, but in a large corporation filled with both male and females, and the some females are less than professional or nice for no reason what-so-ever.
There are many types of harassment one female can experience from another; subtle harassment, blatant harassment or bullying, sexual harassment, gender harassment, discriminatory harassment, and harassment by a supervisor. Adult females are aware you cannot use blatant high school tactics of harassment, therefore, it's usually subtle, unprovable, and never creates red flags to a supervisor or HR.
Harassment and bullying are illegal, it is just that some types are harder to prove than others. Freezing out, ignoring a person/the "silent treatment", not letting the person know of a schedule change so the person doesn't show up for a meeting and ends up looking bad to their supervisors, and excluding the person from work get-togethers is common. Flat out bullying, belittling, calling names, and sabotaging a co-workers work.projects is less common because that is somethingthat can be easier to prove.
Why and How to Resolve Issues
Why do females do this is an age old question that will probably never be answered. Just remember, you don't know what other women's home lives are like. Some women could be in an unhappy marriage, unhappy home, have mental issues that are serious and either diagnosed/undiagnosed or maybe not getting help for. That is the optimistic side. There is the other side that some people are just innately mean and enjoy hurting others.
A lot of legal sites say that making your supervisor or HR aware of the situation because then it can be easier to prove in a court of law. It might make you feel easier that at least the higher ups know about it and might pay more attention now to the surroundings. Of course if it is your supervisor doing these things, you'll need to go higher (straight to HR or the manager/supervisor's supervisor).
You do not have to make a "formal complaint" at first, especially if things are not that bad or if you are worried about making waves. If things progress or get worse, I would suggest making a formal complaint so there is a record of it. You should also start documenting every incident including dates, times, and exact conversation or words if possible. The more detail, the better. Hopefully by now, your company has addressed the situation and resolved it, if it has gotten to the point where your work or outside life is affected by it. Unfortunately, most women just end up finding a new job and quitting, no matter how much they loved their job. It's the easy way out. That lets the harassers and bullies win and keep their power. If you end up getting fired because of filing multiple complaints or grievances, that is called a retaliation firing. After you make a formal written complaint or grievance and get fired right after, that is illegal in many states and circumstances, please check your state and federal law.
My hope for women is that we can all put petty differences aside and help each other succeed. I hope that no one has to take it to the court or on a legal level. I hope no one has to consult an attorney. I hope no woman has to spend time detailing horrible experiences, situations, and treatment by others because that takes time away from happier things you could be doing. I hope no one ever had to go through this, but if you do, I hope you don't stay quiet or just quit because the louder we are about this, the more light we shine on this issue, the less it will continue to happen and being accepted as "women being women". We are professional. We are hard-working and intelligent. We are not emotional wrecks or unable to control our emotions, as viewed by the corporate world and the world in general. (Why do people say we shouldn't have a female president? She would be too emotional. That's terrible.) So let's help all our fellow women succeed and be kind as we would to our own mothers, daughters, and sisters.