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Dena L. Anthony, Ph.D.
San Francisco, Palo Alto, Albany
(510) 525-6156

"Women have been allowed into almost every room of the father's house, but it is still the father's house." - Source Unknown

Established norms and an old boys' network often keep women from positions of   power for which they are at least as competent. Research has shown that even when women are as capable as men, they are often not seen as such, especially if they also perform the valuable relational activities that keep their colleagues and the project on task. You can be "disappeared" for being relational, despite your effectiveness at your job.

My research detailed the effects of ineffective and distressing work environments on women. When the very structure of the system devalues your skills and abilities, it can seem impossible to maintain the exploratory zest and joy that are the hallmarks of your creativity.

Sometimes women value their relationships as much or more than achieving a competitive edge. But as research shows, a woman may be punished for using relational skills and emotional intelligence within the work environment. And you may not be getting your own relational needs met in the workplace where you spend most of your time. Too often a woman internalizes these oppressions and comes to see herself as far less than she is. You may end up feeling anxious and depressed -- just plain fed up and at a loss as to what to do about it. You may even lose your vitality and self-respect .

Maintaining a healthy self-esteem in a dysfunctional work environment requires support, validation and encouragement. Both individual therapy and a professional women's support group can give a woman the personal empowerment, conflict resolution skills and renewed vitality that she needs to succeed in her life. Even in a difficult work setting it may be possible to develop pride in your competence and expand your world to include the richness of curiosity and exhilaration.