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My Bully Is A Woman

Written by: Louise Azzopardi, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Louise Azzopardi

I was going to write an article about International Women's Day and what it means to me, but I wanted to touch on a question that I got asked after a keynote that I did – ‘What do you do if the bullying and harassment is coming from another women?’

Shot of two designers having a disagreement in the office

Now I have gotten that question a few times over the years and it is something that is not touched or acknowledged often. With bullying and different things, I take the approach of working out where it comes from to then create a plan to tackle it. The reason why someone is bullying you is not an excuse for the poor treatment, but it allows us to come up with a more refined plan to create change.

In my experience, the place where women vs. women bullying come from is hurt – hurt people hurt people. Often, they are frustrated that they went through the hard yards to get to where they are and are seeing other women get in easier with quotas or sponsored entry or mentoring programs. Like I said, it's not an excuse, but knowing this, we can see how we can sprinkle in some love when we confront someone.

I have a general structure of how to have a difficult conversation with someone which is.

Have what you want to say planned out in your head, it will help you communicate what you need to say. Three things to communicate are:

  • The specific behavior

  • How it affect you

  • A suggested replacement behavior

Be specific when you have these conversations, with one sentence for each point.

Now, if we are having this conversation with someone who we believe is hurting us out of being hurt, we can add in something like “I am available to chat if you need,” – which I know is easier said than done. Which is why we want to try our best to prevent this.

If you are someone who is running programs to get women in and offering mentoring or resources make sure you include all women, so that everyone can get the support. Just because someone has been in the position for a while and is doing well doesn’t mean that they have had a great experience the whole way through.

It is important to offer support to all women, not just the fresh ones, just as “hurt people, hurt people” supported people will support people.


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Louise Azzopardi Brainz Magazine

Louise Azzopardi, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Louise has worked as a Mechanic for 7 years, becoming a field service technician and representing Australia at the world skills competition for heavy vehicle mechanics. She decided to become the person she wished she had. Louise is a life coach for Tradeswomen, coaching through anxiety and sexism to become the most confident person they can be. She speaks on issues that matter to the Tradeswomen community but not only the issues but the solutions as well!



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