The world of workplace bullying is a complex one. In my own learning about the subject area, my own pre-conceptions and understanding is constantly being challenged; all in the aid of creating safer workplaces.
One article presents that women perpetrate 70% of bullying cases targeting women. Understanding why this is the case starts with socialisation and identity building.
Many of our thoughts and actions are defined by unconscious and automatic internal and external processes, much of this formed by male conceptualisation. Perceived male traits like aggression, rationality and task focus trump perceived female traits like emotion and people focus. Men are advantaged in organisations over female co-workers; skills identified with men are more rewarded; male workers and male dominated organisations are constructed as ideals. This is perpetuated through personal, process and systemic means.
Therefore, for women to access opportunities like men, they need to behave like men using aggression as a means to achieve their goal. The limitation of places for women in senior positions of power results in some women believing they have to bully other women to secure those spaces. The prevailing myth that professional women shouldn’t express emotions results in bottled up emotions that can lead to explosive interactions, which can lead to a perception of bullying.
Gender and bullying is much more than can be encapsulated in this article. However, creating awareness and starting a conversation is the beginning of a safer workplace.
What are your thoughts and experiences? Do you agree that a male gendered world encourages women to bully other women?
Are you curious to learn more about stopping workplace bullying?
Contact us now to start the conversation!