The myth of the 'queen bee': Work and sexism
Female bosses sometimes have a reputation for not being very nice. Some display what's called "queen bee" behavior, distancing themselves from other women and refusing to help other women as they rise through the ranks. Now, a new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, concludes that it's wrong to blame the woman for this behavior; instead, blame the sexist environment.
Belle Derks of Leiden University in the Netherlands has done a lot of research on how people respond to sexism. From her own observations of women in the workplace, she thinks that women are often held to a different standard than men; behavior that would be seen positively in men, such as competitiveness, is seen negatively when women do it. Derks co-wrote the study with Colette van Laar, Naomi Ellemers, and Kim De Groot.
Derks and her colleagues wondered if the queen bee behaviordenying that gender discrimination is a problem, for examplemight be a response to a difficult, male-dominated environment. They gave a web-based questionnaire to 63 senior women in police departments in three Dutch cities. One of the first questions was about how important their gender identity was at work. For example, they were asked how much they identify with other women in the police force.
For the experiment, half of the participants were told to write about an example of a situation where they thought being a woman was detrimental to them at work, they were discriminated against, or heard other people talking negatively about women. The other half were told to write about a time when their gender was no issue at all and they were valued for their personal abilities.
Then the women were asked about their leadership style, how different they thought they were from other women, and whether they felt gender bias was an issue in the police force. How women answered these questions depended on the strength of their gender identity at work. Women who had been primed to think about gender bias answered like queen beesthat they had a masculine leadership style, that they were very different from other women and gender bias wasn't a problemonly if they had started out by saying they identified weakly with women at work. Those who identified strongly with their gender at work had the opposite response when they thought about gender bias, they said afterwards that they were motivated to mentor other women.
The fact that only certain women engage in queen bee behavior, and only after they've been primed to think about gender bias, suggests that for organizations that want more women at the top, simply putting women in high-up positions and expecting them to mentor other women won't work. "If you simply put women at higher positions without doing anything about gender bias in the organization, these women will be forced to distance themselves from the group," Derks says. They may deny that gender bias exists, or avoid helping women below them. "If you set women up this way, so they have to choose between their opportunities and the opportunities of the group, some women will choose themselves. Why should you choose your group? Men don't have to."
Provided by Association for Psychological Science
- Gender affects reaction to HIV-prevention materials Jun 10, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Cat-calls are detrimental to everyone Mar 18, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Women Are Sort of More Tentative Than Men, Aren't They? Aug 24, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- The evolving manager stereotype: Gender a factor in measuring a team's performance Nov 16, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Studies' message to women: Keep your cool Apr 02, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Patients with treatment-resistant major depression saw dramatic improvement in their illness after treatment with ketamine, an anesthetic, according to the largest ketamine clinical trial to-date led by researchers from the ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 9 hours ago | 4.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
The latest makeover to a massive psychiatric tome honored by some, reviled by others and even called the "Bible" of mental disorders is being released Saturday with a host of new changes.
Psychology & Psychiatry 21 hours ago | not rated yet | 1
(HealthDay)—Most Medicare beneficiaries treated in inpatient psychiatric facilities (IPFs) exhibit characteristics associated with hospital readmission, according to a report prepared for the National Association ...
Psychology & Psychiatry May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Skydivers show the same level of physical stress before every jump whether a first-timer or experienced jumper, say Northumbria researchers.
Psychology & Psychiatry May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Children of depressed parents pick up on their parents' sadness—whether mom or dad realizes their mood or not.
Psychology & Psychiatry May 17, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (2) | 1 |
The hunt for an HIV vaccine has gobbled up $8 billion in the past decade, and the failure of the most recent efficacy trial has delivered yet another setback to 26 years of efforts.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
Regular consumption of coffee is associated with a reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an autoimmune liver disease, Mayo Clinic research shows. The findings were being presented at the Digestive Disease ...
9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) explores new methods for managing digestive health through diet and lifestyle.
9 hours ago | not rated yet | 1
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
23 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
The use of a smartphone application significantly improves patients' preparation for a colonoscopy, according to new research presented today at Digestive Disease Week (DDW). The preparation process, which begins days in ...
8 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
There are significant cost and risk factors associated with two procedures commonly used to diagnose or treat gastrointestinal problems, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
8 hours ago | not rated yet | 0