Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Journal of Women in Educational Leadership, Vol. 6, No.3-July 2008. ISSN: 1541-6224.


Copyright © 2008 ProActive Publications. Used by permission.


Although research on women's leadership extols the benefits of women's professional collaborations and mentorship, one cannot assume that all women are trustworthy and supportive of other women. This qualitative study explored the phenomenon of professional sabotage among women in educational leadership. Results revealed that, although women who engaged in sabotage were proportionately few in number, the damage they inflicted on other women's reputations, careers, and emotional well-being was great. "Cross a man and you struggle, one of you wins, you adjust and go on- or you lie there dead. Cross a woman and the universe is changed, once again, for cold anger requires an eternal vigilance in all matters of slight and offense." -Maguire (1995) Relationships between women can be powerful assets in women's professional and personal lives or powerful sources of betrayal and pain. Women count on each other for career assistance, mentorship, collaboration, and friendship. They share their sorrows, problems, secrets, and successes. However, the personal sharing fundamental to women's relationships also makes them vulnerable to betrayal by the women they trust. Women's trust in other women is also their Achilles Heel.