There ... I’ve said it. Women block other women. While we’re all trying to climb the ladder to (and through) that supposed glass ceiling, we are also trying to stop other women from getting onto any higher rungs.
Women adamantly deny this in public, but are unanimous in admitting it privately. That in itself tells us there’s a problem! We can’t even discuss it openly fearing a backlash from our “sisters in business”. 
So we need to look at what causes this blocking, and what we can do to change the situation.

Why does it happen? 

  1. Gender expectations
    We put too high a level of expectation on other women to help us, assuming because we all have a uterus we should automatically sacrifice for each other.
    Sorry, no. Men sure as hell don’t do this — and rightly so. The rationale is: why sacrifice your opportunities and success for someone else purely because they are the same gender?

  2. Limited spots 
    When there are only a few places open for women at a workplace or on a board then yes, of course the only woman who’s there — and fought hard to get there — wants to make sure no up-and-coming bright spark takes her place. It’s game on. 

  3. Insecurity
    Just as with men, when a woman isn’t secure in who she is and what she can offer and deliver in business or life, she will inevitably feel that every other woman is a potential threat to her ultimate success. If you know where you’re headed you won’t care what other women are doing. Period.

What can you do to change things?

  1. Lead by example
    Involving other women is not only supportive, it’s smart. You should surround yourself with women who are smarter than you. It’s the one sure way to succeed. I am surrounded by amazing women who know a lot more than I do about their specialist areas. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  2. Don’t bitch
    Seriously. Stop the gossiping. No, you don’t need to spend time mixing with other women gossiping and justifying it by calling it networking. All you’re doing is putting others down. This is not a good strategy for you — and it’s an even worse one for advancing women in the business world at all.

  3. Bring them with you
    I have a rule that for every opportunity I am presented with, I look at my pool of hand picked talented women within my network and see who could complement me on this opportunity — and also advance their careers.

  4. Take the emotion out of it
    Be strategic with your decisions. The second you let your emotions take over, I guarantee you the wrong decisions will be made and you’ll also attract the wrong kind of woman.  ☐