By Karin Eldor
Monster Contributing Writer
James Brown preached that “this is a man’s world… but it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl”.
But here’s the truth: it has become more and more of an equal playing field, where women are proving to be forces to be reckoned
with on the professional landscape. Women are not only at the top of their game, they are dominating the workforce, especially in certain industries such as retail
, public relations
, as well as educational and employment services.
Whether you work in a female dominated industry or in an office where women happen to dominate the department -- at all levels -- there are some assumptions you might make about working in a female-dominated environment, regardless of your gender.
Statement #1: Women are catty
The reality: Women can actually make worse office bullies than men (mostly when it comes to other women).
A Forbes article called “Why Women Are the Worst Kind of Bullies” (published in April 2012) made this surprising statement. As mentioned in the article, according to a 2010 survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute, “Thirty-five percent of Americans reported being bullied at work…” and apparently, women make much nastier office bullies than men, says psychologist Dr. Gary Namie, co-founder of the Institute.
The same study found that workplace bullying is four times more common than sexual harassment and racial discrimination. Whether it’s badmouthing coworkers
or simply being all-out catty, the article found that women tend to take out their claws more, especially in mainly male-dominated industries like law
and finance, maybe as a way to climb up the corporate ladder. This can stem from an innate need to be even more aggressive and competitive, in order to get and stay ahead. It can be a cutthroat world and some women may have been “trained” to stay strong
and take no prisoners in the face of female – and even male – competition.
This behaviour is of course not recommended, and any person who feels they are the victim of an office bully (whether you are a woman or a man), should consider reporting it to their manager or human resources.
Statement #2: Women are more emotional than men
The reality: Women and men are equally emotional; men might just display it differently.
There’s an unfortunate stereotype involving women crying more at the office and not knowing how to control their emotions. The truth is, men are equally “emotional” – only rather than shedding tears, they might display their frustration, stress or disappointment by getting angry, holding a grudge, or even giving the silent treatment. This whole stereotype of men being more “level-headed” is completely untrue! I’ve even witnessed women calmly holding their own at the office in the midst of a crisis, while their male counterparts completely lost their cool when faced with the same situation.
Statement 3: Women love to gossip
The reality: OK, this one I’ll fess up to… women do love some good water-cooler talk!
Admit it or not, women love to share juicy tidbits and office gossip – at the end of the day, it’s a way to socially bond with coworkers and share some friendly banter at the office. A word of caution: you never want to create the perception of being untrustworthy, being a slacker who only gabs all day rather than getting work done
, or being malicious. And who’s to say that men don’t also enjoy some good office chatter? The truth is, whether you’re male or female, make sure not to get caught up in any rumours or scandals, and never let it get out of hand - keep it light and fun
Statement 4: Women in power love to powertrip
The reality: Both women and men are guilty, as charged.
Many movies and TV shows in the past 20 years have reinforced the perception that women in power, whether at the CEO or managerial level, can be witches (with a capital “B”). Now of course this is a generalization, but maybe one theory is that women in powerful positions might feel the need to prove their mettle even more because they feel threatened – which brings us right back to James Brown’s “this is a man’s world” statement. The truth is both men and women can be guilty of feeling the rush involved with being in a dominant position.
At the end of the day, gender differences
in everyday life and in the workplace are based on generalities and stereotypes, rather than hard truths. So take them with a grain of salt and embrace all our differences – you might just be surprised by your new female boss or your super sensitive male coworker!
The trick to navigating the workplace successfully is to get over your behavioural assumptions and make sure you address the behaviour rather than the gender of your coworker, manager, and even yourself.