Queen bee syndrome

queen beeOh, my, “women have advanced by dissociating themselves from their gender and contributing to the gender stereotyping of other women”….

From Chapter 8: Women’s impact on women’s careers in management: queen bees, female misogyny, negative intra-relations and solidarity behaviors [Source: suegardner.org]:

In the 1970s, academics theorized that as women became more numerous in supervisory and middle management positions, then women’s career advancement into senior management should improve as well. That hasn’t happened: the research shows that the slow progress made by talented, educated, ambitious women is now having a negative effect on younger women’s views of management and the professions as a career option.

In the 1970s, it was argued that as the relative size of a minority increased, its members should experience a reduction in stress and other performance measures, and opportunities to demonstrate competence and potential should increase. Women should become more able to become allies, form coalitions, affect the overall culture, develop support networks and act as role models and mentors to enhance the success of other women. (This is called sisterhood or solidarity behavior.)

However, the nature of senior management and the behaviors and actions required to gain entry to it don’t do much to support solidarity or sisterhood behaviors, and some academics have argued that women at the top are better viewed as exiles from their gender rather than representatives of it. “Queen Bee” theory suggests that senior women have advanced by dissociating themselves from their gender and contributing to the gender stereotyping of other women (by for example turning against other women, disparaging other women, and ignoring other women’s disparagement by others), thereby undermining the progress women make.

From Handbook of Research on Promoting Women’s Careers, Edward Elgar Publishing (Elgar Original Reference), 2013


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