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Can women discriminate against other women?

A lot of times, women feel like they've endured some serious discrimination at work -- but they're not sure they have a chance at making a lawsuit for workplace discrimination stick because the primary person doing the discrimination was another woman. Is it really even possible for one woman to discriminate against another for being a woman?

Yes, actually, it is. And it happens all the time.

Studies have indicated that women who make it to the upper echelons of their profession can sometimes turn into the worst bullies of the women beneath them -- treating them far worse than they do their male counterparts.

There's several theories about why it happens:

1. There's hostility from the women who have made it to the upper reaches of their chosen profession toward younger women because the older women feel that they've had to sacrifice a lot -- especially home and family life -- to get where they are. They either resent the idea that the younger generation may not have to make the same choices or demand that they do.

2. Women who have "stuck it out" in the workforce while having families seem to resent women who have chosen to step back while raising theirs -- as if they've somehow betrayed the working sisterhood by acknowledging that they couldn't handle the role of mother and working woman at the same time.

3. Some women believe that women managers don't always judge them on their abilities but by how well they socialize -- a factor that often has nothing to do with their jobs. Women that communicate more like men get chastised by women that don't.

4. Some researchers even believe that there's a genetic predisposition for women of different social scales to exclude each other. It benefits women in the same social scale to collaborate, but a woman in a higher social scale (or higher ranking at work) may fear that a younger woman may take her place.

5. Some women actively resent younger women that are perceived as too attractive or sexual -- they're up against a generation of women who were taught to subdue their sexuality in order to be taken seriously in the workforce.

If you've been the victim of gender discrimination in the workplace by another woman, an attorney can tell you more about the possibility of filing a lawsuit.

Source: The Atlantic, "Why Do Women Bully Each Other At Work?," Olga Khazan, accessed Aug. 16, 2017

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