Women ruin fellow females' careers - Leadership Management Australasia

10 December 2013 1:00 PM

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Women ruin fellow females' careers - Leadership Management Australasia

WOMEN have become the sisterhood's worst enemy, with new research showing they are holding themselves back by "stepping on another lady's throat".

A survey of 2900 workers by Leadership Management Australasia shows only a third believe women respect other women in the workplace, compared to nearly half for men.

Australian businesswoman and Celebrity Apprentice star Roxy Jacenko agreed that women can be horrible to each other.

"Girl and girl are never friendly to each other and I can never I understand why. You'd think as a fellow girl that you would stick together but that is not the case," the Sweaty Betty PR director said.

"Girls together are disrespectful. Girls are very competitive: it could be the outfit you're wearing to the hair colour you've got.

"It's just the nature of girls. I think it is the more trivial matters that girls get petty over which is a shame."

Ms Jacenko publicly feuded with Olympic swimming champion Stephanie Rice on the set of Celebrity Apprentice.

"She made my life a misery on the show. I definitely think that Steph does like to have a sparkle in the eye from a male and I didn't give her a sparkle in the eye," she said.

The Leadership Management Australasia survey also revealed a significant divide between men and women's perception of inequality, with 58 per cent of men saying there is equal opportunities in the workplace for both sexes.

Chief executive Andrew Henderson said "the consistency of responses across the groups and genders suggests that women are not necessarily doing themselves any favours in advancing their cause".

"The lower level of respect appearing to be shown by women towards women is worthy of further exploration and discussion as this perception may be limiting the extent to which gender issues are taken seriously in the working world," he said.

"The veil of men versus women in the workplace has been so predominant that we haven't stepped back from that same question and said 'well what is it like when it comes to women versus women'?

Businesswomen's Hall of Fame inductee and Brisbane fashion guru Lorna Jane Clarkson said how someone is treated in the office doesn't depend on their gender.

"I've been badly treated by men and women and I've been treated amazingly by both as well," the Lorna Jane owner said.

"If you're great at what you do and what you do demands respect, then you will get it (respect) regardless of whether you are in front of a man or a woman."

Prominent Australian businesswoman Elizabeth Proust, who is on the board of a publicly-listed company and the chair of two others, said she is sceptical of the results but at the same time won't discount the findings.

"That's not my experience. There are a small percentage of women who don't support other women and haven't lent a helping hand or been mentors to younger women in their organisation - but that is a minority," she said.

"The general issue is that women are more supportive of other women in the sense of wanting them to succeed, knowing how tough it is to get to the top of organisations and lending a helping hand.

Channel Nine Queensland managing director Kylie Blucher said she was "surprised" by the findings.

"I certainly have heard stories that women tend to judge other women more harshly but I have not seen any examples."

The high-flying exec said the workplace tended to be a "tougher road for women generally" who were not helped by sometimes unfair perceptions.

"Women will often be referred to as being bitchy and I have seen some equally bitchy men who are not referred to in that way," she said.

A spokeswoman for the Workplace Gender Equality Agency said the real story on the data is that men have a very strong perceptual bias about gender equality.

"On all of the measures reported, far more men than women (usually more than double the numbers) - at all levels of employment - believed that there was equal opportunity in the workplace," she said.

"This, in itself, shows men hold a more rose-coloured view of what constitutes gender equality and there is significant perceptual bias at work.

"There has been some research that showed that men believe gender equality exists when 30 per cent of a group is comprised of women."

University of Technology Sydney feminist academic professor Eva Cox said women frustrated about a lack of opportunity and promotion are most likely cross with the world in general, not just other women.

She said the research shows "it's fairly clear that most women feel that they are not equal, despite the fact that the men think they are".

"It's an unnecessary crack about women not treating other women well," she said.

Sisters Sinead Cronin, and Kaye Phillips, both 34, have both worked in the corporate field and worked to get to the top of their respective fields but said they had always been supported by other women.

Currently working for a small firm in reception and administration, Ms Cronin said she had seen more competitiveness in bigger companies.

"It's a good thing it shows they are confident with more women trying to get ahead," she said.

She said women seen to be trying to get to the top were often challenged by both men and women.

Her twin Kaye Phillips, an information officer, said the key was for management to be aware of competitiveness between women.

"Women can work really, really well together … it just depends on the person and how it is managed."

Who has better opportunities in the workplace? Men (46%) Women (4%) It's equal (48%)

Source: news.com.au

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