I work with a wonderful group of women; both my immediate colleagues at Passle and all our clients' experts. I was recently pointed towards this fascinating piece by Soraya Chemaly on "Why Women Don't Get to Be Angry" and I'm sure it resonates with all of us on many levels.
Like all humans, I am not immune to bouts of anger however big or small. Whether they stem from mistreatment by a friend, tough times at work, or just the never-ending barrage of slow walkers on Oxford Street, I've fumed and raged.
I have also been labelled during expressions of anger as "irrational", "nonsensical" and "crazy". To my shame, I have also subconsciously done this to other women. When a man is angry I have often thought, oh this must be extremely important or he wouldn't be cross. However, when the tables are turned and a woman is angry, I have been dismissive of her motives and seen her as the "protesting female" (something I've been called many a time).
I'm lucky to work in a happy and supportive environment and believe that facilitating a culture of openness and cohesion will allow those experiencing feelings of anger to be able to express themselves without the fear of being mislabelled. Giving all your employees a voice within the firm, both externally and internally empowers them, and using platforms that don't require being the loudest or angriest are extremely important to achieving this.
There is not a woman alive who does not understand that women’s anger is openly reviled. We don’t need books, studies, theories, or specialists to tell us this. Over the past several years, I’ve spoken to thousands of girls and women at schools, conferences, and corporations. Without fail, afterward they come up to me to say the same two things: They want to know how to stand up for themselves “without sounding angry or bitter,” and they want to share stories about how, when they do express anger about issues specifically relevant to their lives as women, people respond with doubt and often aggression.