We imagine women will act communally and maybe we do so out of our own bias.
Once in my career, I felt that a senior woman treated me poorly.
She would complain about me and my team behind my back but would not discuss any concerns she had with me, even when I asked directly.
When I first met her, I had high hopes that she would be an ally.
When she turned out to be not just unhelpful but actually spiteful, I was not just disappointed; I felt betrayed.
Sharon Meers explained to me that this feeling of betrayal was predictable.
Both men and women do, in fact, demand more time and warmth from women in the workplace.
We expect greater niceness from women and can become angry when they don't conform to that expectation.
"I think that's a big part of the protest about executive women being 'mean' to other women,"
Sharon told me. "I think it's about a double standard we have when we look at female versus male superiors."
I now recognize that had this senior woman been a man and acted the same way, I still would have been frustrated, but I wouldn't have taken it so personally.
It's time to drop the double standard. Gender should neither magnify nor excuse rude and dismissive treatment.
We should expect professional behavior, and even kindness, from everyone.
Any coalition of support must also include men, many of whom care about gender inequality as much as women do.