Women have been accused of behaving like ants in a barrel in the corporate environment, each one stepping on the head of the one above in an effort to rise to the top. Is this a fair assessment? A recently published article in a business journal noted that woman-on-woman bullying and harassment in the workplace is on the rise. While it referenced all sorts of statistical evidence, the more interesting question is, why?
One theory is that women pick on other women because they are less threatening adversaries. Women are typically non-confrontational by nature so choosing a female target can be a safe bet. Another possible reason is that women view other women in the workplace as potential threats to their job. While tremendous strides have been made towards breaking down the glass ceiling, women currently hold only 15.7 percent of Fortune 500 officer positions. Lets face it, it has taken women a long time to achieve progress and competition for coveted positions remains fierce. The problem is that workplace bullying will not help women get ahead; instead, it will perpetuate the very workplace inequalities that women are striving to overcome.
All women will succeed when efforts are made to collaborate, mentor and inspire. Women in influential positions have the potential to be a catalyst for change in workplace diversification. When a woman offers another an outstretched arm in the form of advice, mentorship or guidance, she is changing the dynamic of the workplace environment and making it more favorable for all women, including herself.