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Discrimination on the job or also “the Eris principle
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Discrimination on the job or also “the Eris principle

Kinga Bartczak

Eris, the goddess of discord. Rarely has one read of comparable deceitfulness.

She threw a golden apple with the inscription “The most beautiful” to the goddesses Aphrodite, Hera and Athena. Thereupon a fierce quarrel broke out, which was decided by Paris, son of Priam and Hecabe, in favor of the goddess of love. The latter had promised him in return the most beautiful woman in the world Helen, Queen of Sparta. Since she was married to the Spartan king Menelaus, Paris kidnapped her and thus triggered the Trojan War.

Now you ask yourself, what relation does this mythical figure of legend have to our present-day reality?
Well, it’s quite simple: each of us has met such an Eris or found himself in her role.

Because women are simply better at bullying

Bullying and discriminationWhether statements in the job, in the circle of acquaintances or in the circle of the own family: The Eris principle finds application everywhere. In concrete terms, this principle is usually expressed through verbal statements, such as:

  • “Did you see her fawning over the boss again today?”
  • “You want to go right back to work after parental leave? But that’s not good for your kids.”
  • “I found your demeanor a bit arrogant. Are you sure you even have the appropriate qualifications?”

Or very simple and popular from childhood:

  • “Every walk slims you down.”
  • “Maybe you should take a little more care of yourself.”
  • “You’ll never have a chance with the opposite sex that way.”

We women are very good at this, by the way: interfering in the lives of others, giving them (pseudo) smart advice and applying our own concept of life to everyone else. You have never experienced such a situation? Then try visiting a trade show.

Which eris apple (apple of discord) would you like?

Visits to trade fairs are often tests of endurance. Everyone wants to secure one of the coveted places in the panel discussion, attract the attention of an interesting interlocutor and take advantage of individual advice at the career courses.

But let’s face it: while we dodge the “gift-gatherers”, patiently join the queue at the catering stand, only to then desperately search for a seat on the crowded exhibition grounds, we often feel a chill down our spines, especially at major events.

Panel discussions open up complex topics that are not only emotionally charged, but often need to be treated with a certain degree of sensitivity. Empathy: out of place! Instead, we tell the young graduate that she should work her way up on her own, advise the full-blooded mom that she should go back to work, and lament for hours about whether the women’s quota makes sense, whether single mothers have a harder time than mothers who are supported by their partners, and discuss it all in a frenzy so that no group is forgotten when we play each other off against each other.

But why all this?

Because Eris longs for outer (and inner) beauty

Eris is often described as a small, limping and shriveled woman who blossoms into true beauty only through the discord and hatred she sows. So in the end, you can say:

She is the victim of her own shape and history, forced to spread discontent in order to achieve her own beauty and thus (possibly) her own inner peace. In this respect, she is very similar to many women.

Women are discriminated against at any age. It is always suggested to them that they are missing something, that they are imperfect or flawed. This suggestion becomes anchored in their personal and professional lives in such a profound way that they cannot help but consider the behavior of others to be correct and always question their own.

They then mistakenly pass this principle on to their daughters from generation to generation, knowing full well that it may not be the right thing to do. But there is hope, because a new tide of solidarity is rising.

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Because life is not a myth

Of course, it should not be the consequence of this article that we consider women as discord sowing xanthips. Rather, it is intended as a plea for more solidarity.
Young, old, fat, thin, single or not, single, married or taken. Whether in a leadership position or not – we need to start speaking out together for more solidarity among women.

Women who bully and discriminate against other women have often experienced such treatment themselves. In the past, the young men were “hardened”, today it is “as a woman you have to adapt to the men and show toughness as well”. We are all under personal, professional and social pressure, so why not share the load?

With solidarity against discrimination

Women solidarityIn this regard, you are wondering what possibilities exist in the area of mutual solidarity?

Here are my 7 recommendations:

  1. Network meeting: Joint exchange of contact data for future cooperation
  2. Networking and mutual support (likes, comments, etc.) on social media, because we are all FemalExperts!
  3. Participate in mentoring programs: Make yourself available as a mentor and support others.
  4. Joint visits to trade fairs, where factual and constructive exchanges take place.
  5. Discussion meeting: Promote joint exchange. Intensive listening and a great capacity for empathy are required here.
  6. Continuing education: Do you know of an interesting course that has helped you professionally/personally? Share your knowledge with others!
  7. Personal Recommendations: Be a key interface to provide others with the necessary opportunity for self-presentation. This is the only way we can promote the Alpha Women’s Club.

Whether you choose these or other options, the important thing is: your own situation should not always be the focus. We should advocate for single mothers or lesbian couples, even if we don’t claim either of these “issue areas” for ourselves. In the future, it must no longer be a matter of playing different groups of women off against each other.

We should provide support where it is needed and give a voice to those who are not heard enough and that is not always ourselves. Let’s bring out the (soul) beauty of Eris. Not by sowing discord, but by joining together in solidarity. This is what makes us special and what everyone admires about us women (and many men, too).

Have you ever met an Eris or found yourself in this role? Why do you think discrimination among women is increasing? Have you experienced discrimination yourself? Share your experience with the FemalExperts community!

About the author

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Kinga Bartczak advises, coaches and writes on female empowerment, new work culture, organizational development, systemic coaching and personal branding. She is also the managing director of UnternehmerRebellen GmbH and publisher of the FemalExperts magazine .

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