Why Don’t Women Help Other Women at Work?

Women at work.

Women at work are awesome. Women at home are awesome. Basically, women are just awesome. (Duh.) But there are some women – women who don’t help other women — who are downright toxic to the rest of us gals who just want to learn and bond.

Women who don’t help other women are everywhere and we’re sure you’ve encountered a few of these ladies in your lifetime. These women work with you and sit next to you in your college courses. Although these ladies do get on my nerves, I don’t hate these women. Why? Well, because as Laurie Ruettimann points out, every woman is that woman at least once in her lifetime. While this is a pretty sobering statement, it’s true.

Don’t believe me? Well, let’s examine a few of the “woman who doesn’t help other women’s” characteristics:

She’s kinda negative all the time: She makes sure everyone around her knows how hard she works and is very vocal about every sacrifice she makes. (I hate to admit that I used to be this person at the beginning of my freelance career. I had that “too busy” chip on my shoulder to prove to everyone around me that even though I didn’t work a “9-to-5 job,” I still worked my ass off.)

She will undermine women who are older and younger than her: Do you have ovaries? If so, this woman views you as competition. Unfortunately, men and women at work tend to compare a female’s productivity to the women around her. So, teamwork can seem a bit threatening. (While I’ve never undermined another woman, I sure as heck had issues with teamwork when I was around 25 years old — I blame all those failed “team projects” in college for this former attitude.)

Now, I know that most women don’t actively choose to hate on other women at work, or elsewhere. I sure as heck know I don’t. But I know that sometimes when I feel like I’m getting snubbed at work, or that I’m getting ignored, I tend to seclude myself and don’t seek help from anyone.

Over the past few years, I’ve learned to shut-up and listen to my co-workers and the older friends I have. I also have actively sought out women who have been around the block more than a few times to learn from their experiences. Being around and learning from such experienced women has helped me become more helpful to other women around me.

While powerful women may intimidate us all from time to time, let’s all acknowledge that these feelings aren’t helpful. Women can only become successful by helping each other. So, let’s put our egos aside and actively try and connect with women who can help us. Building these friendships is incredibly beneficial to you and to all women.

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Image: Seattle Municipal Archives

Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.