Women against women: the hidden obstacle in Corporate America

Reflections on the betrayal and hostility from fellow women in the workplace

DiversityQ spoke with a Black woman who shares the painful truth of how other women have hindered her growth throughout her 17-year journey in corporate America.

Their hostility towards one another impacts women’s career advancement and wellbeing. But, despite the setbacks and betrayals, she advocates for change and urges women to unite, support each other, and shatter glass ceilings together. 

This is what she had to say…

“As I embark on my 17th year in corporate America, I find myself reflecting on the journey I’ve travelled. Being a Black woman, I knew my path would be riddled with challenges, and I prepared myself to work twice as hard. I believed that perseverance and an unshakable work ethic would propel me forward.

“However, I never anticipated the heartache and betrayal that would come from some of the very women I’d hoped to find support in – be it a colleague turned adversary, a boss intent on stifling growth, or a mentor who disappoints. This painful truth has prompted me to examine the impact of women’s hostility towards one another and advocate for change. 

“Throughout my career, I’ve been undermined, betrayed, hurt, abandoned, and belittled by other women countless times. While I expected some resistance from men, I never imagined that other women – especially Black women I once admired – would contribute to the obstacles I’ve faced.

“The painful reality is that some women, insecure in their own identities, find my determination and natural abilities threatening. Instead of supporting one another, they have tried to hinder my growth. However, I believe that only God can alter our destined paths. 

“These betrayals have made me stronger, wiser, and more determined to fulfil my purpose. I now recognise the true essence of leadership and sisterhood, and I am committed to combining these forces to create a safer, more supportive environment for women in the corporate world. We are all striving to succeed within a system that was never designed with us in mind. Can you imagine the power we could wield if we united? 

“As I continue to climb the corporate ladder, I pledge to lift others as I rise. There is more than enough room for all of us, and we have a responsibility to ease the journey for those who follow. Achieving true equity requires supporting each other in shattering glass ceilings and demonstrating that when women collaborate, we excel. 

“To my fellow women in corporate America, HR professionals, managers, and leaders responsible for fostering inclusive and respectful workplace cultures: I urge you to recognise the impact of hostility on women’s career advancement and wellbeing. Let us join forces, change our behaviour, and create a world where all women can thrive together. In doing so, we will make a lasting, positive impact on our workplaces and society as a whole.” 

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