Women in the workplace and Attachment theory

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Women's prejudice in the workplace is something that though has improved throughout the years still encounters many obstacles.  We talk about bullying and excluding others and mainly the emphasis is placed on children.  We do not hear very often that an adult is getting bullied.  Maybe excluded, but no bullied.  Why do we not take adult bullying more serious?  As women face discrimination in the workplace, the fact is that it is just another form of bullying.  According to Rogers (2013) from Fox business news on the web says that a poll from Gallup reported that only 15% of women reported being discriminated against in the workplace and that she believes that the numbers may be higher.  Her reasoning is that "bias is not recognized or people don't know how to handle it."


In a video on youtube about bullying and its effects, a father of a son who has been bullied, simply expresses that unawareness of what bullying looks like (ignorance) may lead to lack of action.  If a problem is not perceived how can someone begin to tackle it?  In this way, the workplace may benefit from investing in programs that promote awareness of discrimination.  Rogers (2013) also states that "[p]art of the reason gender bias persists is because women feel intimidated to ask for a promotion or raise, or speak up about discriminatory actions, says Nell Merlino, CEO of Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence. Merlino says asking and being denied is different than thinking you will be denied an opportunity due to your gender.


Women's lack of self confidence appears to play a role in this matter as well.  Perhaps attachment theory may answer for some of this.  Attachment theory is proposed as a form in way children become socialized by their parents.  Some have parents who attend to all of their needs while others have disengaged and uninterested parents.  Attachment theory argues that those children that have secure attachments with their primary caretaker (in the early years) develop more secure and well established personalities that carry them into adulthood (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012, pp. 359-361).  We may not like to think so, but our society is highly affected by attachment theory issues that may have not even been recognized many years ago.  If we think about Bowlby's attachment theory was not introduced until the 1950's which means that anyone before that would have been clueless as to what Bowlby's research implicated.  That means that many of our parents and perhaps grandparents raised some of us or our parents with perhaps more authoritarian upbringings.

Ultimately, this may play a role in why women lack that confidence in the workplace and perhaps why their co workers may even discriminate against them.  Does not make it right, but this definitely is worth considering.   


Schneider, F.W., Gruman, J.A., & Coutts, L.A. (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

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