Findings of an interesting new study suggest that the gap between what men and women earn at work could be caused by women themselves.
Apparently, if the boss is a woman, she is more likely to hold other women back as she advances her own career, in what is referred to as the queen bee syndrome.
The queen bee syndrome is characterised by women in power trying to be different from other women, standing in the way of progression of junior female employees and failing to support other women in male-dominated fields.
At best, the queen bee is the female boss who does nothing to help other women go up the career ladder, and at worst, actively stands in the way of other women, discrediting their achievements and denying them opportunities for growth.
According to the researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, the queen bee syndrome is a subconscious reaction by female bosses to the discrimination they face for holding top positions. According to the researchers, sexist workplaces are to
blame for this syndrome rather than the women themselves.
HOW IT WORKS
A lot of companies feel the pressure to have a woman in the top ranks so as not be seen as sexist. Once they have put one up there, the management feels as if its work is done.
Once there is a woman at the top, the company stops actively trying to put other women there. The problem isn’t that women at the top aren’t willing to help other women grow in their careers, it is that there aren’t enough women at the top.
It isn’t that women aren’t willing to help other women; the problem appears to be that there aren’t enough women in positions of mentorship to begin with.
The other explanation backing the conviction that women at the top do not deliberately hold other women back from joining them in the corner offices is that women in leadership are forced to adjust to the masculine culture that is dominant in most workplaces.
It is easier for a woman to assimilate to this culture than to try and change it. By doing so, female bosses end up standing in the way of other women’s success.