horizontal violence, incivility, female aggression, bullying

I was in the security line at the airport behind a woman younger than me, who was drop dead gorgeous. As I stood there looking at her, I started comparing – she had nice full lips (mine are fish thin and getting thinner!); she had a button nose (mine is authentically Italian); and her hair was long and flowing. Beautiful.
As I looked at her, I started feeling inferior and that old familiar twinge of jealousy. Why couldn’t I have nice full lips or beautiful long hair? Why couldn’t I afford a Louis Vuitton travel bag (I can only imagine how expensive it was)?
And then I caught myself going down that ugly path – the path that leads to women treating other women poorly – the path to nurse bullying.

Bullying in the nursing profession is rampant! One reason (there are many) is that nursing is a female dominated profession (90%). And let’s face it ladies, we are not always that nice to each other.
Why aren’t women nice to each other?
It started many years ago when women used to compete against each other for the prized male. Their goal was to marry the doctor, banker or lawyer. When women entered the work force, there were only a few spots for leadership positions – so again, women had to compete against each other.
And the way we competed was to make other women look bad. Hence, women treating other women poorly.
Competition coupled with comparison (like I did at the airport) leads to feelings of inferiority – not believing we are good enough. And then to compensate, we treat other women badly, downplay their accomplishments, and sabotage their efforts.
Women are their own worst enemies.
Isn’t it time for this to stop?
By celebrating the accomplishments of other women.
We need to compliment, encourage and do everything in our powers to advance and promote other women.
Compliment – every day find a reason to compliment another woman. You can compliment something physical (her shoes, hair, travel bag, etc.), or compliment the way she presented at a meeting or conference.
Recognize – whenever you can, recognize the accomplishments of other women IN FRONT of other women. For example, you can say, “Congratulations to Tina for finishing her Master’s Degree” in front of your peers. Or, share with your co-workers how Amy went out of her way to help you prepare for your first presentation at a national conference.
Support – go out of your way to support other women and help them succeed. Period.
Nobody is going to fix this problem for us. WE…WOMEN…need to fix it. And we can.
Once I caught myself going down that ugly path, I stopped. Instead, I engaged in a conversation with this woman. As it turned out, I sat next to her on the airplane! She was lovely. So articulate, kind and accomplished. As we exited the airplane, in my mind I gave her a “You go girl!!”
We are amazing humans and we need to start acting like it.
Stay connected and be kind to each other!

What are your thoughts on this topic? Would love to hear from you!