Our expert says:
Maria's response sounds about right. Yes, backstabbing is so sadly common at many a workplace ( if it were an Olympic event, so many would wualify for a Gold medal). Its not limited to women, either. As maria says, rather than alienate the malicious gossips, try to find ways in which to abstain, excusing yourself, in ways that don't directly annoy them but make it clear you don't wish to take part in sharing unpleasant comments about others.
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