A study by researchers at Arizona University has affirmed Queen Bee Syndrome as a reality of cut-throat competition among women at the workplace. The study says that women reported higher levels of incivility from other women at their workplace, than their male counterparts. It also reports that women target their female counterparts challenge gender norms by being more assertive and dominant at work.
Queen Bee Syndrome describes a woman in a position of authority, who views or treats subordinates more critically if they are female.
Due to rampant gender bias, women often find themselves facing limited growth opportunities at workplaces. Despite working twice as hard as men, women are overlooked during promotions, and given smaller pay cheques for equal work. Every woman, out to work is struggling to break that glass ceiling. Hence, in a bid to procure the best of whatever meagre opportunities that are available, women turn on to each other.
This gives rise to workplace jealousy and aggressive behaviour. They scrutinize more, and as a result, have to face a hostile environment at workplace.
Awareness about Queen Bee Syndrome and creating empathy for each other
Allison Gabriel, one of the authors, notes that the findings are an opportunity for companies to re-evaluate their cultures.
“Companies should be asking, ‘What kinds of interventions can be put in place to really shift the narrative and reframe it? Making workplace interactions more positive and supportive for employees can go a long way toward creating a more positive, healthier environment that helps sustain the company in the long run. Organizations should make sure they also send signals that the ideas and opinions of all employees are valued, and that supporting others is crucial for business success — that is, acting assertively should not be viewed negatively, but as a positive way for employees to voice concerns and speak up”.
Agreed that in today’s competitive world, it is very hard to achieve success, especially for women. So the urge to cut through every obstacle with a ninja sword is very strong. But what most women don’t understand, is the larger impact of Queen Bee Syndrome.
It not only creates a hostile work environment, but also robs women of a strong support group.
Also, it gives companies a chance of brushing issues that concern women employees within the office spaces under the rug. This happens simply because women fail to take a united stand and give their common grievances priority over personal gains.
Instead of making each other’s journey’s harder, women would benefit more, if they learn to support each other. It will also help womankind to form a unified front against causes like sexual harassment at workplace, gender pay gap and gender inequality, which need immediate attention.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own