There’s so much talk of empowerment and sisterhood between women and yet still women are often times their own worst enemies—from feeling jealous at another woman’s success to picking apart her clothes, personality, and hair. What makes women do this? To understand more, Nicola Beer, Individual & Couple Relationship Counselor unravels the phenomenon.
Whether in the office or on the kids’ playground, Beer points out that our culture promotes competition, where people are classified as either winners or losers. “This coupled with the fact that there is still today gender inequality in both the Western and Eastern world,” she says. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum 2018, women are still paid less, female bosses are still in the minority, and motherhood still carries the risk of total career derailment.
Women are still paid less and this can lead women to think and act like it’s a super tough world. So they push other women aside to get access to the limited chances available at the top. To overcome this, Beer advises that women must lift as they rise, lift other women up and forward. It means rising against prejudices, letting go of stereotypes, and promote on merit and fair treatment.
Whilst the work environment and economic inequalities can lead some women to attack each other, there are many individual factors also. Some of these include low self-esteem, jealousy, and personal insecurities that lead some women to attack, put down, gossip, and hurt other women. “Someone who is criticizing, judging, and complaining about others, does so because they feel so low about themselves that this is the only way they have found to feel better,” she tells, and these individuals will be harsh, judgmental, and critical of themselves also.
WHAT WOMEN CAN DO
Showing compassion and not taking it personally is the key here, stresses Beer. “Of course, avoid being close to people who bring you down, are emotionally abusive, or disrespectful; it’s more a case of loving from a distance, and not taking it to heart,” she explains. “Remember, when someone attacks, it’s never about you, but it is rather a window into what they are going through. Miguel Ruiz talks about this in his best-selling book ‘The 4 Agreements.’ So the only thing to do if another woman is mean to you is to send good thoughts out there that she may be suffering and set healthy boundaries to protect yourself if needed.”