“This one is too hard..This one is too soft..” “This one is too hot.. This one is too cold..”

When we heard this while growing up, it was just a story but today this is a way of life for most working women. Female employees, sadly, are judged way more than men at work and “The Goldilocks syndrome” stands for this double-edged sword where women in workplaces are scrutinized for being both too aggressive and too passive. Needless to mention this hypocritical perception of employees, employers and peers is exclusive to women.


A report by the Washington Post said that the lead researcher for Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, Marianne Cooper, wrote “if a woman acts assertively or competitively, if she pushes her team to perform, if she exhibits decisive and forceful leadership, she is deviating from the social script that dictates how she ‘should’ behave.” Considering these are regarded as ‘manly’ traits, they aren’t readily accepted in women. On the contrary, being more of a thinker than talker or the inability (or simple refusal) to toot their own horn, makes the woman ‘weak.’


Picture By: TAN.com
Picture By: TAN.com

Another report by Forbes, defines the Goldilocks syndrome as “As a woman, you’re never going to get to the top if you’re too busy wondering whether or not your porridge is too hot or too cold. Yet, no matter how high you get, you’ll never run out of people happy to take its temperature for you.”


From being aggressive or passive, to being too emotional or too cold- women at workplace are penalized for being themselves. Working women should concentrate on playing to their strengths, because let’s face it, you cannot please everyone and we still live in a world where gender-based criticism will always come your way.


[Featured Picture Courtesy: The Guardian]