BY MPHO KUHLMANN
I have spent a good thirty minutes this morning trying to remember the last time I heard a woman admire a fellow woman without pointing out a single flaw or belittling the difficultly-offered admiration by being condescending, and boy have I struggled!
Our penchant to pull each other down is almost a national crisis, well maybe not a national crisis but so serious as to warrant a commission of enquiry at least according to some of our Members of Parliament.
A while ago Member of Parliament and Assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment and Sport Culture Development, Dikgang Makgalemele proposed that Botswana should appoint a commission of enquiry into Batswana’s tendency to put each other down. The Pull Her Down Syndrome however seems to be rife among Batswana women.
It seems, when Batswana women are climbing their respective career ladders, everyone else disappears and if they have to shove another woman off in order to get themselves higher, they will do it without thinking twice.
University of Botswana Senior Sociology lecturer Sethunya Mosime, however say the PHD syndrome as it is popularly known is also rife in males. “Women tend to bring each other down but in the same light there are some that pull others up and encourage others, and although workplaces always have their challenges women need to know that it is never right to tear each other down. Usually when women put others down it is because they have their own insecurities that they have and are projecting unto others.” She says people tear each other down a lot be it in life in general or in the workplace but when women do it, it matters more, men pull each other down too but it isn’t given a name like PHD unlike with women.”
Society has since time systematically pitted women against each other. It’s largely because women live in a patriarchal society that puts more value on men and that believes men make great leaders and create better or more output than women therefore, in seeking value and validation, women tend to view themselves as competitors rather than equals. Instead of celebrating each other’s success, they shoot at those going up the ladder of life. They simply say: If I cannot succeed, or have brilliant ideas, neither should you.
Maduo Orapeleng an accountant at one of the Choppies stores in Gaborone says the pull her down syndrome is very real. “It is shameful for me as a woman to see women constantly dragging each other down. It is disheartening that while we are fighting for gender equality; we are our own biggest enemies and are biggest traitors to our own empowerment. We walk into rooms and compare ourselves with others, only being ultimately at peace upon conclusion that we are better than every other woman in the room. It really amazes me that we are our own critics and we are the quickest to bring each other down.”
Many women are keen to pull down their female counterparts for one very good reason: they, like males have been conditioned to believe women should not be successful. It’s not only successful women who pull down their female colleagues, unsuccessful women do it too.
Women hardly appreciate another woman’s success; they have their own ideologies as to why a woman was able to attain the height she has attained: she either slept with some powerful men along the way, she knew some people who pushed her to the top, or she used some funny tactics that should not be mentioned.