I've worked with my current employer, a large tech company, for 3 years now. The job is good in general, pays well, etc. My division (about 15% of the company) started a new program to encourage women in engineering. It seems like it started with good intentions, but has failed in a number of ways. A number of women were promoted to manager and/or "principal engineer" positions, some teams were disbanded to form new teams, etc. This resulted in a modest amount of attrition by senior engineers, so we're already missing some of our top talent.
The worst part about this, is that the promotions appear to be very political. A friend of mine, who accepted one of these promotions to a senior engineering position, is absolutely miserable, and looking for a new job, since her whole team hates her (and most of her team members are more experienced than she is; some by a decade of industry experience). Whenever she has a question or needs help with something, her team members just tell her "you're the ranking engineer; you should either know this or be able to study after-hours and learn it". This has apparently started to become a pattern with other teams, and might even be deliberately coordinated (based on some "jokes" in our water-cool Slack/chat channels). It doesn't help that her former mentor, who was 1 level/promotion above her, is now one of her subordinates, due to her effectively getting 2-3 promotions at once.
I've worked very hard at this company, and have been approached to accept one of these "promotions", but I would only ever want it if it was a real promotion, and not some political stunt. I'm worried if I decline this politically motivated promotion, I'll be turned down for future promotions. I've already tried to transfer to another division or business unit, so I can get away from this toxic hell, but transfers are not being approved right now (due to too many already being processed over the past month). Also, I'm worried that I will burn up all of my contacts and potential references here if I accept the promotion.