The Narrative: Women In The Workplace Are Catty

My truth, my experience: This is completely false!

If you’ve followed my blog, you will know that in August last year, I quit my job after 12 years and embarked on a new employment adventure. I went from working in a male dominated environment to working in a very female centric industry. Our current team has 19 employees of which only 3 are male and the entire senior management team is female. When I tell people this, the first response from women and men alike is: Oh wow, that must be such a bitchy environment!

No! It’s not actually. Not even close!

I’m not sure where this narrative of an all female work force being catty even started but it’s been the furthest thing from the truth in my experience. And I believe we need to stop buying into this nonsense. Men and women can be equally supportive or difficult to work with, this is not a solely female phenomenon. 

The first time I sat around our boardroom table as part of the senior management team, all of us women, laptops and notebooks out, I got goosebumps! It was so incredibly empowering, I’d go so far as to say it felt like a sacred place, all that feminine energy. Strong women, making big decisions, driving a company to even greater success. Not once was there an awkward of uncomfortable comment, not once was there a sexist joke made. I felt encouraged to voice my opinions and share my thoughts and experiences openly without fear of ridicule or judgement.

It’s been 5 months since I joined the team and I’m still waiting for the predicted cattiness to start!

Instead of my status as a mother seen as a stumbling block to my career, the fact that I am a mother and all the challenges that go along with being a working mother are respected and embraced. My employers understand my priorities as a working mom and they support me 100% as both a mother and a valued member of the team. To work in an environment where I don’t have to be stressed because it’s my kids first day of school or her first netball match during the work day is incredibly liberating. Because the company and my employers embrace my role as a mother, I have found myself going the extra mile for them, working harder than I probably ever have, being more proactive and analytical in my role and this is because I want to be the best I can be in return for the support that they have so freely given to me.

Being a blogger….

Is another area that has been fully embraced. Where previously, I’d literally cringe and get anxious every time I received a press drop or my blog was mentioned, I’m now included in social media strategy sessions and discussions around campaign mechanics and ideas because of my experience as a blogger.

Men can be difficult too!

It’s so easy to label a difficult woman in the work place as bitchy. But I’ve worked with men who had their own agendas, who looked out for themselves and trampled on whoever they needed to trample on to fulfill their own political agenda. I’ve worked with men who could be downright mean spirited, impatient and judgmental, but never once were they labelled as difficult or catty. Nope, that name seems to be reserved for women in the workplace only and I think it needs to stop.

I work for two very strong, well educated and qualified women who have created the most amazing, supportive and empowering space that embraces women and encourages them to grow and I couldn’t be happier. The things I’m learning, the tasks that are entrusted to me, encourage my growth and have increased my sense of self worth.

An empowering work environment is everything.

It is obviously based on trust but releases me to grow and develop, it empowers me to search out opportunity, to analyze how things are done and look for ways to do them better. I feel liberated by all these women.

What is your work environment like? 

Have you experienced unrecognized catty behavior from male colleagues? Or do you believe in the narrative that states women in the work place are bitchy?