Female bullying is behaviors that are intimidating, harmful, or obstructive done by women or girls. Despite the archetypal idea of the insensitive male bully, women and girls are equally likely to be bullies, though the way female bullying is done often differs from male bullying. This type of bullying can happen in school, in the workplace, or in a person's private life.
Goals of Bullying
The goals of the female bully may not be that different than those of the male bully, although some people point to key differences. The bully is usually a deeply insecure person who works out insecurities by making the lives of others miserable. He or she may specifically target people viewed as either competition or viewed as weak.
Types of Female Bullying
Female bullying can occur through a variety of behaviors, including intimidation, disgusting pranks, and making it hard for others to do a job. Though women or girls aren't always as likely to threaten physical violence, particularly in the workplace, some still do. It's often more common for female bullies to form groups to deliberately exclude certain people, to spread malicious gossip about others, to be over-emotional and yell and scream, or to constantly find fault with someone else. Such bullying at work is often not that different from queen bee behaviors in cliques at junior high and high school, except another person may lose a job or feel forced to quit if bullying is successful.
Bullying in the Workplace
The whole idea that female bullying exists in the workplace tends to fly in the face of conventional thinking that women get along with each other and are the more cooperative of the genders. There's often a stereotype that women have a big advantage in the workplace because of a tendency for group work, collaboration and cooperation. Though this may be true for some women, other women prefer to work on their own, and some do this through bullying behavior. One explanation for this may be that there are still fewer women holding executive positions in many fields, and female bullying is one way to defeat competition. Alternately, if the behavior of the female bully was more or less ignored in school settings, some women may view intimidation or destructive behavior as a good way to achieve goals.
Others feel that female bullying may remain unaddressed in the workplace because of a fear that addressing it would prove a setback in the long fought battle for gender equality. Acknowledging that a few women do not know how to behave in the workplace might suggest that no women do and open the door for greater gender discrimination.
Dealing with Bullying
Advice for dealing with a female bullying or a destructive female clique in the workplace typically involves talking to management, but first documenting any behaviors that are destructive or aggressive. This may be challenging to do if actions of the bully aren’t overt, and especially if the bully is backed up by other group members. However, documentation of any acts, and discussion with management or human resources may prove helpful. Those being bullied could also research programs on sensitivity training and suggest their implementation in a work environment.