How To Deal With Harassment At Work
Women know very little about the men they work with. Sometimes women just do not understand them. It causes problems that working women have with their bosses and male colleagues. The most typical of them are described below.
Men do not take women they work with as equals. As a rule, they have a very vague idea of the women that they meet at work every day and judge them by their appearance. Usually, men are nice to those women who save them from routine work (type, do paper work) or hold a lower position in a company. Men automatically take leadership upon themselves, and women seldom compete with them. In the places where the majority of workers are women, men have nothing against working with them until they remain leaders and control the situation. However, men feel uncomfortable when women are more numerous and equal in capacities and potential. Modern women become more and more competitive in the spheres that were traditionally male areas. Women consider themselves equal to men, protest against men’s superiority, and attempt to rise up in salary and in post. It irritates the men who treat such women as potential rivals and sometimes even as a direct threat to their well-being. Men try to have as little in common with such women as possible. As a result, women can become confined inside their company. They lack information about the inner situation at their working place, while men are aware of it and share it with each other. What is more, in such cases women can suffer from aggressive actions from men. These attacks can be both direct with scandals and public accusations and indirect, for instance, in the form of gossip, insinuations, and attempts to drive others into a corner. The most unpleasant gossip is a sexual one when a certain woman is thought to get a raise or was a success in some sphere not because she possesses capacities required for this work, but because of her sexual talents.
Men resort to this kind of behavior because otherwise they would admit that their professional level is lower than that of certain women. That is why if a woman achieves success, she will be most likely become a target of gossip.
Before reacting to these attacks, make sure that they really aim personally at you and you did not provoke them yourself. Decide whether there is any use in a confrontation. Then study your opponent’s personality and character – it helps you to beat him. If you run into a direct attack, do not fall to the desire to react in the same way. The best solution is to turn it into a joke or to ask your opponent for why he is saying this. By means of a joke or a question you can weaken the strength of attack without provoking your adversary.
You can also use such a woman’s “weapon” as tears. For men your tears will mean that this question is really important for you and they will earnestly try to find the way out. But do not resort to this trick too much or everybody will think that you cannot control yourself.
To avoid such aggressive actions in the future, be competent in your work and make everybody know about your achievements. However, painstaking work is not the only thing required. Maintain friendly relations with your colleagues and boss. Stick to the company’s traditions and customs. For instance, if your colleagues pay a lot of attention to sports, you should become fond of it as well. To be well informed in the latest news you should have many-sided opinions. It is also useful to ask men for help, however, not as a weak woman but as a colleague who needs additional information about a certain question. On the whole, decide whether you want to be a leader. If there are few women in your office, you will certainly be denied additional benefits.
Men’s sexual aggressiveness is a problem many women experience at work. It can be insinuations and proposals, indecent expressions and attempts to touch or blackmail in case a woman does not agree to enter intimate relations, right up to attempts to rape. Such actions can be expected both from boss and colleagues. The reasons are not only in their sexual preferences but also in their desire to show power and superiority.
Sometimes women feel shy or they are afraid to disagree with men and do not want to raise their voice because they don’t want to look silly. When they lose patience, they can react too emotionally and even leave the job.
The simplest way to protect yourself is to nip such attempts in the bud. As soon as it happens for the first time, suggest having no such talks with you or in your presence any more without going into discussion on this matter. However, if the attempt to become closer was unobtrusive, you should react carefully and try not to wound the person’s self-esteem.
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