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Guest Blogger Marianne Cooper on Why Women (Sometimes) Don’t Help Other Women

I first read this article on Facebook posted by a young professional woman who was very interested in the generational aspect of the article. As I read the comments to her post, I read the article again. Is it a myth about women vs women? Do women of a certain age have an obligation to younger women to help them up the career ladder? Why are females considered “Mean Girls” when males are just considered during their job in the same situations? Ms. Cooper gives us a lot to think on. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

LEAGUE OF WOMEN IN GOVERNMENT

It’s not because they’re inherently harsher leaders than men, but because they often respond to sexism by trying to distance themselves from other women.

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By Marianne Cooper, Ph.D., Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University

There are two dominant cultural ideas about the role women play in helping other women advance at work, and they are seemingly at odds: the Righteous Woman and the Queen Bee.

The Righteous Woman is an ideal, a belief that women have a distinct moral obligation to have one another’s backs. This kind of sentiment is best typified by Madeleine Albright’s now famous quote, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” The basic idea is that since all women experience sexism, they should be more attuned to the gendered barriers that other women face. In turn, this heightened awareness should lead women to foster alliances and actively…

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