A few weeks ago I was in a lovely and powerful zoom discussion with the members of the Prayer Ladies Supper Club in which we spoke of why women are not supportive of each other.
The discussion yielded a lot of personal experiences detailing women’s interaction with other women in the work place, in service industries and even women with whom they are friends.
Some of the findings revealed:
- that women are not welcoming to each other
- women will show support to friends but not to those they do not know
- there is a competitive nature amongst women
- some women do not want to share their tricks and trade
- some women do not believe there is enough to share in regards to wealth and power so they cling on to their power in order to stay ahead
- first time interaction with women sometimes always include negative attitude and reluctance to help.
All these findings were meted with a nod from all if not most of us in the meeting as we could relate or had encountered similar experiences.
However, I wanted to see if there has been any research on why women are not always supportive of each other. Because although we shared our experiences, I could not quite find a specific underlying reason for our selfishness as women.
I really wanted to know why we are so reluctant to share information with our friends and acquaintances. Why is it so hard to tell a friend some data that may improve their health, wealth, physical appearance, businesses and so on.
Upon doing some research, I found an article written by Dr.Shawn Andrews that gave some very important points. In his article, he, like my concerns about the selfishness of women, highlighted that there was not one main answer when topics involving gender interactions were being discussed or researched.
He, however, noted that there was a “power dead-even rule” amongst women- one of the reasons that would explain why women are not always supportive of each other.
The “power dead-even rule” stipulates that interaction with women on a power structure basis must be equal at all times to that of the other women. The disruption of the power heirarchy, which happens when one woman may have been promoted or has increased her wealth, leads to exclusion, gossips and denigration.
Another important point that Dr. Andrews spoke of was the appropriation of the masculine emotional intelligence by those women who were in charge- the powerful and wealthy women. He described this situation as “The Queen Bee Syndrome,” where powerful women adapted emotional traits that are more associated with males in an attempt to assert their dominance over those women they are in charge of. In other words, women bosses and powerful women are oftentimes aloof in an attempt to stay dominant in a man’s domain.
All these points are pivotal in helping us understand the power structuce, selfishness and unwillingness to share that prevail amongst women. But I can never understand fully why people choose to be extremely selfish.
Despite the positions we hold, try to keep and the level of power and wealth we try to maintain, it will cost nothing to help a friend by sharing and be kind.