Traditionally, the role of women has been confined to the four walls of the house with her shouldering almost all the domestic responsibilities. With changing times, women are entering the workforce, swanky offices, hi-tech conference rooms and even boardrooms. Yet, with more women at work, women are also facing workplace bullying in different forms.

Here are some common scenarios and some tips to tackle them:

New woman on the team: Many women experience workplace bullying when they are newly inducted into a team. There is usually a learning curve when anyone embarks on a new initiative, but sometimes women have it hard to just come up to speed, especially if there are no or very few women on the team.

A young woman in the IT industry narrates how she was told, “Girls don’t understand technology. It is only for the boys” when she spent time in the early days learning the project on hand.

How to handle

–          Set expectations at the outset. When you join a project, negotiate on the time required to get productive.

–          Keep a check on your emotions. Don’t get swayed away. If it is bothering you, talk to a colleague you trust/manager or a mentor. It usually helps get clarity of perspective.

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When women stay quiet: Many women are bullied in the workplace simply because others know that they will stay quiet. Examples of this behaviour include colleagues taking credit for your work, speaking on your behalf, not sharing information that you need to know, setting unreasonable deadlines, and then passing comments in public for this.

How to handle

–          Speak up for yourself. It is your career. Speak up! Someone may speak for you sometimes (right/wrong). But no one will speak always.

–          Take responsibility for your work actively.

Lack of knowledge: A lot of women lack knowledge in some critical areas, which makes them potential targets for workplace bullying. One, many women lack general knowledge and awareness on larger issues related to politics, personal finance, world economy, technology trends, etc. Secondly, many women have limited knowledge on work-related issues not directly related to their scope of work. For e.g. knowledge on industry updates, competitor information, their company’s quarterly results, etc.

Tips to deal with this

–       Make it a priority to read every single day. There is absolutely no short cut. Even 15 minutes every day will go a long way in how much you actually know, and how well you can engage in conversations beyond the scope of your work.

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Read more about how to handle workplace bullying, especially for women at work, or for anyone new to the work force.

Article contributed by Women’s Web

Women’s Web is an online magazine and community for the thinking woman. Here, you will find interesting and useful information on Career development, Managing work and family, Successful women, Entrepreneurship, Women’s health and personal finances.

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