Are women holding each other back?

BusinessWomenIn some industries such as IT and Engineering there is a gender gap. Especially how there are not enough women in senior roles of a company. But is this all down to men or could females also have a hand in sabotaging their fellow females blossoming careers?

Earlier this year there was the announcement made by the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer that from the 1st June 2013 Yahoo employees would not be allowed to work remotely from home. This kicked up a storm as many felt this was likely to make life difficult for many working mums at the company.

With changes taking place in the working world and other companies encouraging flexible working hours to promote a healthy work life balance this new rule at Yahoo is being frowned upon. Looking at the bigger picture could it not be that Marissa Mayer is not taking her gender into account but is basing her decisions on what would be best for the company. Noticing that some remote employees were not even logging onto the company intranet during the working day she felt she had to take action to bring the company and its employees back together and to work as a team? If a man had made the same decision would it have had the same snowballing effect or is it only men who can make the ‘tough’ decisions?

In the UK the first and only female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher also known as the Iron Lady, passed away this year. This female was revered by some and hated by others, yet she stood her ground against her male counterparts when tough decisions had to be made regardless of the consequences.

Then we have Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. This mother of two has had her fair share of verbal attacks. SherylSandbergBook_Her book ‘Lean In’ is meant to encourage more women to lean into their careers and to not shy away from progressing forward.

In the examples used, the successful women have come under attack for the decisions they have made. Are women trying to have it all whilst also trying to approach the working world as if they were a man in order to be successful?

Nevertheless, should we not be supporting the fellow female in wanting to forge a career and if possible push through the proverbial class ceiling?

Instead of being supportive and offering encouragement  women are seen to be in competition with one another, whether it is based on physical appearance, social stature or your determination to further your career.  This blog piece titled ‘Crab Mentality: How women hold each other back’, in summary compares the behaviour of women in the workplace to a bucket of crabs. As one crab tries to break free, the other crabs will pull it back down. Is this truly the case with females? If there is a remote chance that when a female is ready to break free from the bucket and become a CEO or a Prime Minister the remaining females will do all they can to pull that female back in?

According to an interview with Sheryl Sandberg she makes a point of how boys … are socialized to be assertive and aggressive and take leadership. Girls? “We call our little girls bossy.  It would appear this social attitude is carried through to the workplace.

In the past and even today, women are advised that if they want to get ahead they have to work hard, if not harder to show they can be just as good as a man. Be willing to make the difficult decisions. Should you choose to have a family, not have it interfere with your job. This results in many females being alienated and attacked by their fellow females which can be detrimental to the future of working women / mums.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to get ahead but at what cost. Sheryl Sandberg now can leave work on time to go home to her family, though in the past has had to work 12 hour shifts. Marissa Mayer returned to work after two weeks of maternity leave, and had a nursery next door to her office. Other women have to contend with their female colleagues sabotaging them through belittling comments in order to retain some kind of power that slows their career progression.

Be it a man or a women eventually there will always be someone to replace you. How you behave and treat the people on your way up that career ladder may also be the same people you meet on your way down.


2 thoughts on “Are women holding each other back?

  1. I think the general public (myself included) were way too hard on Marissa Mayer and her decision to remove remote employment. Her decision was based on data as you pointed out. People were starting their own businesses on Yahoo’s dime and not vpn’ing in during working hours. Sheryl Sandberg made a lot of good points in her book. It’s a good guide for women and men today. Definitely made an impression on me.


    • Thanks for commenting. 🙂

      To begin with I too thought Marissa Mayer’s decision to remove remote working was a bit harsh. After thinking about the reasons behind her decision it made sense. That is the problem, I thought of the negative before trying to understand her reasons.
      Those who have publicly attacked Marissa Mayer jumped to the conclusion that as a working mother she should understand the importance of remote working. Not only is Marissa Mayer a working mum but she also has a business to run and make a success of.
      How many of us in her position would have been able to make the same decision?


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