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Sexual harassment at office by women against women occurs as well, who believe that a beautiful woman always gains favor because of her looks.
We all know sexual harassment at office occurs, however hard we try to cover it up or uncover it. But one thing which is rarely voiced is the sexual harassment going on against women by other women colleagues.
I am not talking of the physical manifestation of it, rather I want to emphasize the mental torture that is meted out. And as we generally do not have any proof of such incidents, or people just wave it off as idle gossip nothing is ever done regarding this. But it definitely is there.
One day I was talking with an ex-colleague of mine regarding various matters. This colleague of mine happens to be a very lovely person, both in her looks and as a human being. She said that however hard she works at her projects, no one in her team is ready to take her seriously.
She says she can understand men being jealous and always saying women get things done because they are ‘women’. But what she could not believe was the way the other female members were behaving with her. And the only reason was that she was beautiful.
The girls in the team believed and did not hesitate to hint it to her in a humorous way that she was getting it easy because of her looks. They insinuated that the managers were happy with her only because she was so beautiful and had such a pretty smile. No one was ready to see the extra hours and effort she was putting in to make her projects successful.
I agree there are some girls who use their looks to get forward in their career, and some men who think every pretty girl or every girl at that is their personal property to ogle at. But these are exceptions and not the rule.
In one of my early jobs I was informed by some of my colleagues that one of our female colleagues was spreading rumors against me. She did not waste time to tell anyone that I was getting a better salary than her because of the ‘favors’ I was giving to the bosses. It did not matter that we were in different departments and though she was in this particular office longer than me, I had more experience.
It was the first time I had faced something like this and so bluntly at that. Being young I burst into tears. I felt as if my character was ruined forever. My colleagues tried to explain to me that no one was believing her, but for me I felt tainted. I did not even have the courage to go and confront that lady.
At last my boss called me up and talked with me. He told me not to give ear to whatever this lady was saying, and as years went by I may have to face even worse rumors than this. I would have to grow a thick skin and if I was good at my work no one would be able to stop me from getting what I deserve.
I am still thankful to him for his advice. Today of course I know better, I am prepared to deal with such female predators as well as male.
However, in that incident, no step was taken against her as there was no proof, it was all hearsay. She was probably reprimanded but I am not sure of that.
But it did not change the fact that my trust was broken, and not by any man but by a woman. The incident has stayed with me, scarring me and made me wary of people.
I really believe before we point fingers at men for harassing women, we should really try and change our own attitude towards each other. It is perhaps rightly said, “A woman is the biggest enemy of another woman.”
Image source: women gossiping at office by Shutterstock.
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