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Are We Really Our Own Worst Enemies?

“In the face of uncertainty, believe in these two things – that you are stronger than you think and you are not alone.” – Maya Angelou.

If you are anything like me, you probably do not like to hear that women are their own worst enemies. In fact if someone says that to me, they had better be prepared for an hour long “lecture” on how men are determined to divide and conquer. However, at the end of the day as I lie in my bed at night, I often wonder why women seem to be their own worst enemies.

I’m sure you have met women who wouldn’t want to have a female boss. In fact, research shows that two thirds of all women prefer a male boss to a female one. Where did this come from? Did some “evil” women sit down one day and decide that they didn’t want women to be leaders? The unfortunate truth is that many women in management/leadership are quite unpleasant to deal with.

In my opinion, the reason why women in management are sometimes hostile is either because they are not comfortable in their own skin or because the rest of us do not believe in them. Hear me out. When you aren’t comfortable in your own skin, it is easy to be hostile especially to people whom you feel are looking down upon you. I would like to see a world where women are comfortable with whom they are so that they aren’t constantly trying to be more like men.

On the other hand, we can’t always blame the women in leadership. It is easy to second guess yourself when everyone else around you doesn’t think you can do it. In fact, everyone, including those who won’t admit it, expect women leaders to mess up sooner or later. However, so as to believe in another woman’s ability, they have to believe in their own ability. When you believe that you can be a CEO and a pretty good one for that matter, it will be easy to root for female CEOs.

This brings me to my vision. I would like to see myself and all the other women in my community believing in our abilities so much that we are not tempted to second guess other women’s abilities. Just like the Maya Angelou quote says, I want women to know that they are stronger than they think they are and that they are not alone. By doing this, all the women at the top will begin to feel that they are not alone and therefore they can relax and concentrate on being good managers or leaders. As soon as we begin to believe in ourselves a lot more, more female presidents and CEOs will begin to pop up everywhere. Even those women who have been afraid to seek leadership positions because they are afraid of being second guessed every step of the way, will be more willing to step up.

I want to be a Voices of Our Future Correspondent because I believe it will help be to learn how to initiate and seek external resources, community and connection so as to achieve my vision. Although, I have a vision, I’m still not sure how I’m going to implement it. I believe the Voices of Our Future Training program will equip me with the tools I need so as to make my vision come true.


geniar's picture

Interesting Perspective!

I also think that women in management are products of their environment in the sense that they are always have to struggle and prove that they are better than everyone else just to get ahead a little and this can create a sense of always being under threat.

Grace Wanene's picture

That's True

Thanks for reading my post. I agree that women in management always feel like they are under threat. We want to eliminate that feeling and make them feel that they aren't alone and thus more comfortable.

Kind Regards,

YAOtieno's picture


Hi Grace,

Nice article. Three of my former bosses were women and they were the exception. I think having struggled and worked extra hard to be where they are they were willing to help me grow in my career without the discrimination they had to fight. I think I am because they were. Having said that I think your vision is great - we also so need to be so that others can be greater than us.I really hope we all get the guidance we need.



A candle looses nothing my lighting another

Kenia's picture

Perceptions are our Worst Enemies

I would argue that women are not more hostile than men at all. Almost never. I believe we (both men and women) *perceive* our female bosses in this way.

"In analyses of more than 40 studies, leadership researchers find very little difference between women’s and men’s leadership."
This quote is from fascinating research that outlines the stereotypes and psychological perceptions of women versus men leaders in the United States. (I'm sure this phenomena occurs in most other countries as well).
Here is the link:
I think you'll find it very interesting. :)


Kenia Perez

Grace Wanene's picture

Maybe Not Hostile

Thanks for reading my post. Maybe hostile wasn't exactly the right word to use here and I apologize for that. I will try to find a better synonym. However, I'm glad that the report you pointed me to talks about the United States because in my country things are very different. Maybe I should have clarified that;i should never have assumed it's a universal problem. Either way I read the document and was impressed by the part where it stated:

" Women find themselves in double jeopardy. In masculine domains, individuals who
report to women may have the least confidence in women’s problem-solving
competence. This means women’s subordinates—the same people women leaders rely
on most to get work done—are the very people who may have the lowest confidence
in their plans. For women, leading in masculine fields may be far more demanding than
it is for their male counterparts."

This is exactly what I was trying to say. It is difficult not to feel threatened when everyone else doesn't believe in you.

Kind Regards,

Tait's picture

I enjoyed your post. My

I enjoyed your post. My current boss is a woman and I look up to her because she makes the tough decisions without flinching and not worrying about the backlash. Keep writing and making your vision a reality.


pheebsabroad's picture

Empowered Women!

I really enjoyed your post. The idea of a glass ceiling is something that is frequently discussed, but never really in this light. What can we as women do to make sure we empower others? We need to build each other up, not break each other down. You have a unique way of seeing things-and I enjoyed your post!


Azaria's picture

Well said

Very well said Grace.
"I would like to see myself and all the other women in my community believing in our abilities so much that we are not tempted to second guess other women’s abilities."

This is also one of my visions, far to often I have witness women who are lacking in their own self love and confidence wanting to cut down other women who are striving to be better.

This is why I love the Pulse Wire community, we are all here supporting each other, lifting each other up and pushing each other to be better. The more of us out in the world doing this work, the quicker we as women will stop being our own enemies.

Keep on keeping.


Azaria Ulmer, CHC, CPCC
Wellness & Empowerment Coach

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