Intrasexuelle Konkurrenz unter Frauen und Frauen, die andere Frauen am Aufstieg hindern („Sisterhood Ceiling“)

Ein interessanter Artikel zur intrasexuellen Konkurrenz unter Frauen:

Imagine turning up to work every day knowing the person sitting opposite you is doing everything in their power to push you out of your job.

That was the shocking reality for Naomi Joy, a 30-year-old former PR director from London, who witnessed and experienced ‚toxic femininity‘ throughout her career.

She reveals one female colleague in her thirties once declared everyone in the office ‚hated her‘, while another tricked her into making a mistake so that she would be favourite for a promotion.

It eventually led to Naomi quitting her job and penning The Liars, a psychological thriller about two rivals competing for a promotion, inspired by her own shocking experience.

Natürlich sind solche Aussagen wie „Die haben mich gemobt und mir gesagt, dass alle mich hassen“ immer mit einer gewissen Vorsicht zu genießen: Mitunter hat derjenige auch schlicht Anlass dazu gegeben und selbst die Gründe nicht gesehen


While researching her book, she conducted a survey of 1,000 employed British women and found more than half claimed to have been sabotaged at work by another member of the so-called sisterhood, while more than a third (37 per cent) said they’d actually felt scared or threatened by a female colleague. 

Da wäre es natürlich sehr interessant gewesen die Zahlen für männliche Kollegen zum Vergleich zu haben. Aber 37% ist nicht ganz ohne.

Naomi Joy, a 30-year-old former PR director from London, says she witnessed and experienced ‚toxic femininity‚ throughout her career
It had been building for a while. I’d been walking on eggshells for months, trying not to provoke one particular female colleague prone to passive aggression and making snide remarks.

„Toxic femininity“ wäre etwas, was Feministinnen üblicherweise gar nicht gelten lassen, weil es das denknotwendig nicht geben darf. Denn dann ist es allenfalls verinnerlichter Sexismus, aber als Opfer kann Weiblichkeit nicht selbst toxisch sein.

In her early thirties, bright and energetic, she had seemed supportive at first, keen to be friends in the chic PR agency where we worked. Now she’d finally come out with it: ‚Everyone in this office hates you. Everyone wants you to leave.‘ Furious, I remember clenching my hands so hard the nails punctured the skin on my hands, drawing blood.

And what did I do next? Well, nothing of course – instead I tried to placate her, like so many women would have done in my place. Yet something changed forever that afternoon. It was the beginning of the end of a life lived in the shadow of other women’s toxic femininity.

Das ist eben der Nachteil der weiblichen Aggressivität. Sie wird weit weniger offen ausgetragen . Und sie nutzt Mittel wie Rufschädigung und andere gegen einen Einnehmen.

I thought I’d learned my lesson about female rivalry at the very start of my career when, as a young intern, I was fortunate enough to land a dream full-time job at PR and events agency.

The boss – a brilliant, rather fierce woman with high-arched eyebrows and dark-red lips – had decided to give me the position, much to the chagrin of the other female intern who would have to leave.

This girl, who I’ll call Tara*, said nothing to my face – but then she didn’t need to. Instead she made sure I had the wrong information for the following day’s photoshoot, while I was too naive to bother checking.


I got to the shoot at lunchtime as instructed, bright red and sweating, only to be met with a single brusque question: ‚Where have you been?‘ I looked around to see the cameras were packed up, blow-up palm-tree props deflated, a pair of bright-gold designer heels flung to one side.

Tara stood smugly across the room, hand covering her mouth, jaw dropped with faux-shock. I handed the shoes to the woman who had offered me the job, stuttering an explanation.

‚What are these?‘ she snapped. ‚The shoot finished an hour ago. There was no one on hand to fetch coffees. I had to do it myself!‘

Tara got the job instead of me – a sign of things to come.

Gut, das gleiche kann sicherlich auch bei einem Mann passieren. Es ist nichts typisch weibliches eine Konkurrentin schlecht zu machen. Aber es zeigt eben, dass beide Geschlechter natürlich auf ihren eigenen Vorteil aus seien können und es naiv ist nur davon auszugehen, dass es ein Kampf zwischen den Geschlechtern ist und das eigene Geschlecht da zusammen hält.

Millions will recognise what I’m talking about – that world of women who flash you a broad smile as they turn on their computers in the morning, teeth still on show as they huddle into their screens while angrily plotting your demise in secretive emails.

These are the women who actively block your path to success if they deem you a threat; women who, in my experience, create a ceiling far harder to break than a glass one. And, much as it pains me to say it, they exist in offices everywhere.

I conducted my own survey of 1,000 women in full-time employment in Britain, and a troubling 58 per cent of them told me that they had at some point been sabotaged at work by another member of the so-called sisterhood. There was no bias in terms of age, location or wealth

59% ist erneut nicht wenig und erneut wären auch die Zahlen für Männer interessant. Auch hier ist natürlich zu bedenken, dass „sabotiert“ ein sehr weitreichender Begriff ist. Was darunter zu verstehen ist, ist schwer zu sagen. Das kann auch eine einmalige Situation geringer Intensität gewesen sein

My second job took me to some of London’s most exciting red-carpet occasions. I held vast black umbrellas over the heads of celebrities. I set up events with Olympic athletes and worked on publicity campaigns that made a real difference to people’s lives.

The culture was much better. Even so, there was one woman who, when my promotion was announced, took me to one side to say I hadn’t deserved it.

‚I had to wait a year to be promoted, you only had to wait nine months,‘ she said. ‚It’s not fair.‘

Her disruption became systematic. She blamed her mistakes on me. She blocked my chances to work on more important projects, spreading rumours that I would probably leave the company soon. This woman, by the way, was supposed to be my mentor – and, despite everything, I wanted her to like me.

Auch hier klassische Methoden einen Nebenbuhler auszubremsen, um mit Gerüchten etc durchaus im klassischen weiblichen Schema umgesetzt.

Es folgen noch eine Vielzahl weiterer Beispiele, die ich hier mal rausgekürzt habe, wer mag kann sie ja in dem Originalartikel nachlesen

According to an academic study in 2016, one of the biggest barriers to female career advancement is other women.

The paper, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, concludes that women are more likely to fall out with female colleagues whom they suspect of trying to elbow them aside on the career ladder than they would with men. 

Lead author Sun Young Lee, an assistant professor at the UCL School of Management, said the findings suggest standard career structures which encourage people to compete for promotion are disadvantageous to women.

Das scheint mir diese Studie zu sein:

We take a relational perspective to explain how women and men may differently experience competition with their same-gender coworkers. According to gender socialization research, the female peer culture values harmony and the appearance of equality, while hierarchical ranking is integral to the male peer culture. As competition dispenses with equality and creates a ranking hierarchy, we propose that competition is at odds with the norms of female (but not male) peer relationships. On this basis, we predicted and found in one correlational study and three experiments that women regard competition with their same-gender coworkers as less desirable than men do, and their relationships with each other suffer in the
presence of competition. We discuss the implications of these findings for women’s career progression.

Quelle: Gender Differences in Response to Competition with Same-Gender Coworkers: A Relational Perspective

Klingt interessant, wäre vielleicht mal einen eigenen Artikel wert.

‚As a woman who has worked across the world, I’ve long observed that women take competition with other women much more personally than men take competition with other men – my research provides support to such an observation,‘ Dr Lee said.

‚Bosses need to be aware that competitive career structures that are effective to men may be detrimental to women.

‚At the same time, women should be aware that taking competition too seriously could be holding them back from leadership positions.‘

Das könnte ich mir durchaus vorstellen, weil Männer „sportliche Wettkämpfe“ eher gewohnt sind und auch eher Hierarchien haben, während Frauen häufig eher eine gewisse Gleichheit in ihre Gruppen – zumindest dem Anschein nach – einbringen wollen und daher gerade bei einem Wettbewerb unter Freunden schnell meinen, dass diese sich mehr herausnimmt als für die Beziehung fair wäre.

The response has been extraordinary. Close friends have shared their own experience of female rivalry at work. Readers have been in touch to say their lives have been turned upside down by female bullying.

Researchers at University College London have explained the phenomenon as ‚The Sisterhood Ceiling‘, concluding that, while men are buoyed by competition, women report negative emotions – but only when competing with other females.

The result, they suggest, is that some struggle to maintain healthy relationships and adopt a cut-throat approach to other women instead.

Also in etwa der Ansatz, dass einige Frauen mit dem Grundmodell nicht zurechtkommen und dann vollkommen übersteuern. Quasi also „toxische Weiblichkeit“, die mal etwas stoischer werden sollte und nicht alles so emotional sehen sollte (um mal das Modell zu übertragen, bei dem toxische Männlichkeit entsteht, weil Männer ihre Gefühle unterdrücken)


Evelyn Cotter, a career coach who founded SEVEN Career Coaching, told me that female clients routinely claim they have been undermined by other women.

‚I’ve been consistently shocked in my career and business to see female rivalry and jealousy as the norm,‘ she said. ‚Sadly, as women we exist in a world designed by generations of men.

‚The office is a heightened masculine environment and a system that is not set up for women to flourish and thrive, unless they develop more masculine traits, and, even then, success is not easy.

‚Women subconsciously understand that they start on the back foot. This breeds insecurity which, in turn, breeds fear.‘

So much of this rings true from my own experience in the office – all that fury heaped on women who dare to ‚get ahead‘. I see my own shortcomings, too, because in my heart I favour ’niceness‘ and cooperation.

Evelyn offers some advice if you are a woman facing this problem: ‚As difficult as it is, take a step back, tap into those wonderful female traits like empathy, high emotional intelligence and awareness of others, and really look at why this person is behaving like this.

‚If you can get into a conversation with her where you can both speak on an adult basis, you could ask how, instead of using our energy against each other, we could support each other.‘

Easier said than done, I know. But however many obstacles we face in the office, toxic femininity shouldn’t be one of them.

Das ist dann auch so eine klassische Lösung: Einfach die weiblichen Energien nutzen. Feministinnen würden dann sagen: Dazu brauchen wir die Quote, damit Jobs weiblicher werden und der Konkurrenzdruck weg geht.
Nur das dieser Konkurrenzdruck eben auch zu mehr Leistung führt, wenn man es richtig macht.