How "Queen Bees" Sting Women Workers


And don't forget "older" people, either. They're part of the problem, too.

The U.K. Sunday Times, via Arts & Letters Daily, reports on a study showing that women "and older participants" are much tougher on their female counterparts than men when it comes to anticipating job success. Around 700 participants in Spain looked at fake resumes of fake employees for a fake corporation and then were asked to evaluate candidates across a variety of areas. The real results?

"Female participants had a stronger tendency than male participants to view the female candidates as less qualified than the male candidate . . . they also thought that the female candidate would fare worse in the future in her job than the male candidate."

It adds: "Female participants predicted that the male candidate would show a more laissez-faire leadership style than the female candidate would."

Katherine Rake, director of the Fawcett Society which campaigns for sexual equality, said stereotyping was more important than female rivalry in holding back women's careers: "Stereotypes about what is an appropriate role for women are still very strong in people's minds and there is still a cultural barrier to women making it into senior positions."

More here.

Given the level of fictiveness built into the study (not to mention the small sample, etc. etc. etc.), I'd be interested in seeing actual employment advancement figures. But can "705 participants living in southern Spain" be wrong? Hmm…

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  1. Am I the only person who has heard this from women for years? Seriously, women I have worked with or was associated with have been saying that other women are the roughest bosses to work for and they have said that for as long as I can remember this topic being discussed.

    I have rarely had any problems with women as my boss and when that is mentioned the response is that women are rougher on other women than men.

    Pretty sure that there are quite a few scientific studies that come to the same conclusion, long before the one cited above.

  2. …stereotyping was more important than female rivalry…

    It seems obvious that the stereotyping is likely a component of the rivalry. Interesting the study didn’t note that.

    For my own experience, while gender may play a role in an employee’s success, it has little do say about an employee’s level of incompetence.

    Stupidity and lack of talent seem to be pretty evenly distributed.

  3. …not to mention the small sample

    700 participants (properly selected) should be adequate for several study groups and a control group. Although, it’s not clear that was done in this case.

  4. It would appear that at best, the group was only properly selected to represent the population of southern spain. But since it was research done at a german institute, published in a dutch journal, reported on in a british newspaper, and linked by a us based website, the location of the sample population from which societal attitudes on gender are being drawn should probably be kept in mind.

  5. So how long before Fickle Petty Bitch Syndrome becomes a real malady?
    There’s a female manager where I work who is beyond incompetent, and who treats her people like shit. I’ve had several throwdowns with her in front of our boss where I have explained in detail how he policies have directly led to loss of productivity and revenue, and she always comes back at me with “you have a problem with women managers, don’t you?”

  6. I have to say that my experience confirms the study’s conclusions. The two worst bosses I’ve ever had, and my nominations for the two worst humans on the planet not in charge of third world countries were never-married women in their 40’s. (I was in my mid-twenties and thirties when I worked for each of ’em. They’re both in the late 50’s now.) The three single men I’ve worked for — one divorced with kids, one never-married, and one gay — were wonderful. The married women were wonderful. (The one married man with housewife was pretty bad, but he was only in charge of my department for about six months, and was dealing with fifteen major disasters at once, so I can’t form a stereotype from him being a bully.)

    Now, my current boss is a never-married woman who’s a few years younger than I am, and she’s delightful. My guess is that the Boss Beasts’ horribleness was a product of being in the first large wave of women with professional educations. They were raised to be wives and mothers but they never did that, and resented like hell those younger than they were who managed to combine the two life-patterns. My current boss was raised in a much more open climate. It will be interesting to track these results over time. My guess is that it will take about fifty years, but that eventually this problem will go away, to be replaced by something else equally intractable.

  7. I’ll go with Karen on the “never-married women bosses” observation/ad hoc analysis, though I’ve worked with a few older never-married females who were quite colorful.

    The biggest exception? Married couple business owners.

    Married couple business owners have universally outdone every boss I’ve ever had for incompetence, ego, pettiness and corruption in the workplace.

  8. Women will have to be kept out of positions of power to prevent them from discriminating against each other.

  9. wingnutx pretty much sums it all up for me.

  10. The woman who hired me for my current job was: married, Italian Brooklynite, loaded, brassy and a lawyer.

    She rocked as a boss (sadly, she is here no more). Also, I’ll never have another boss with tits as big hers.

  11. I forgot to add: she was fired by a older, married, male lawyer/entrepreneur who is a fucking walking nightmare of a human being, let alone a boss.

    As a rule, he should never be allowed to speak to nor be let near other people.

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