Saturday, June 15, 2024

Why is it so hard for women to get along?

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(“The ranks of women are kept really, really thin, so everyone feels that they’re the only one allowed in, and they can’t afford to be nice to other women.”

Meg Wolitzer author of The Female Persuasion

Even though women are on a successful rise in the entrepreneurship industry, there are still some women who are choosing to climb their way up, the corporate ladder of success. For black women in particular, it is a harder climb when your competition are not only men, but your fellow sister, another African American woman. In a recent poll on social media, people stated that on average, women simply can’t get along for reasons of personal insecurities, competitiveness, individual learned behavior and low self-esteem. With results like that, let the rat race begin of the Mean Girls.

Women have been marginalized in the corporate world since the Women’s Right movement or even from possibly the beginning of time. Biblically, we’re told that Eve was insignificant to Adam after “the fall” therefore, she probably competed with his work ethic and possibly other women as humanity grew. Or what about during slavery? The darker skinned women weren’t welcome too kindly inside of the master’s house or in his bed. They were often either laborers in the field alongside the men slaves, cooks or the nanny’s to the white woman’s children. While lighter skinned slave women, had the same responsibilities on the plantations, but were treated a little bit better.

Which brings us to the present day. Why is it so hard for women to be nice to each other? It is a disservice to society when women can’t all get along. Sometimes the disconnect is due to cultural barriers and at other times it could be from the lack of equal opportunity in a workplace amongst women. So women feel the need to compete with one another. I recently watched an episode of Being Mary Jane. In this episode, the more senior journalist and Mary Jane were constantly competing for the leading lady of primetime slot role on a major network (both were women of color). Later one in one of the more recent season episodes, Mary Jane found herself competing yet again, but this time with a white woman, who did not fight fair, she used social media in attempt to sabotage Mary Jane’s career.

Some women lack the capability of trusting other women from an incident or negative encounter in their past with another woman and that makes it difficult to ever form a sisterhood of any kind. Cliques are formed in the workplace to isolate the competition, so to speak and that creates tension between multiple women in one environment. Women are the definition of strength so can you imagine TWO strong minded women clashing? Armageddon has nothing on women in a rage competing with each other.

How can we strengthen the bonds between women? Here are a few tips to use whenever you encounter a woman who may be difficult to get along with:

1. Don’t take the negative encounter personal. Sometimes, the other woman may just be having a bad day, week, or month.

2. Be respectful at all times. Don’t ever dim your shining light for anyone.

3. Check your body language. Are you approachable?

4. Invite the woman/women to a safe space and talk about your differences with each other. Get to the root of what bothers all parties involved.

5. Get rid of the Mean Girls cliques and find more ways to work together in a positive setting.

There is greater power amongst women who work together for a common goal than there is for women to be divided for selfish gains.

There’s room for all of us at the top if we continue to support one another.

Staff Writer; Felicia T. Simpson

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