Pick a Male Boss

It seems that when women get to the top, they get a bad rep. According to a recent study published in The Daily Mail, they are seen “as more sexist than even their most ruthless male counterparts.”  That might not be such news.  But what has just been discovered by psychologists in the field, is that women are purposely removing themselves from other women, not giving them any help in getting to the top.  This, it is now claimed, could be due to the extent of the sexist, male-dominated workplace.

Get Rid of Sexism: Get Better Women

If there is no sexism in an office however, there is a much less chance of women behaving like ‘alpha females.’  But for those who are trying to get to the top of a male-dominated workplace, they shouldn’t expect too much assistance from their female peers or superiors.  Leiden University (the Netherlands) psychologist Professor Belle Derks with her team, took a survey of 63 females working in senior police department positions and questioned them on the importance of ‘gender identity’ in their jobs.  Fifty percent of them had to write about a situation in which they found being a woman was detrimental to their work.  They then had to talk about their “leadership style, how they compared to female colleagues  and if they believed there was a gender bias in the police force.”

The study discovered that those women who described themselves as having a ‘weak gender identity’ used very masculine descriptive terms vis-à-vis their leadership styles too.  This led the researchers to define them as ‘queen bees.’  Those however, who weren’t prepped with a reminder of gender bias, were less likely to act in ‘queen bee’ fashion.
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Survey Results

The results were published in the Psychological Science Journal.  In it, Professor Derks concluded that “Queen bee behaviour might be a response to a difficult, male-dominated environment.  If an organization simply puts  women in higher positions without doing anything about gender bias, these women will be forced to distance themselves from the group.”


James Fishman has been involved in the world of online magazines for more than 15 years. He helped launch Sunstone Online and continues to improve the magazine as site editor and administrator. His writing focuses primarily business and technology. To be in touch with James, feel free to contact him at james[at]sunstoneonline.com.

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