“Queen Bee Syndrome” – Women sabotaging other women at work

Instead of cheerLEADING™, some women are being the “Queen Bee”.

Wiki defines it as this:
Queen bee syndrome was first defined by G.L. Staines, T.E. Jayaratne, and C. Tavris in 1973. 1 It describes a woman in a position of authority who views or treats subordinates more critically if they are female.”

“Although significant steps have been made towards gender equality in workplaces, research shows that, on average, women are still paid less than and achieve fewer promotions than their male counterparts. Some researchers have hypothesized that Queen Bee Syndrome may be developed by women who have achieved high workplace positions within their respective fields, as a way to defend against any gender bias. By opposing any attempts of female subordinates to advance in their career paths, women with Queen Bee Syndrome hope to fit in with their male counterparts by adhering to the cultural stigmas placed on gender in the workplace. Belittling female subordinates allows “Queen Bees” the opportunity to show more masculine qualities, which they see as more culturally valuable and professional.”

This research is still very valid and I see this phenomenon myself in the workplace. These “Queen Bees” are, in fact, bullying other women in what then develops into a very negative workplace culture.

We need to reverse this phenomenon, and begin to counteract it, by cheerLEADING™, encouraging other women to develop into their full potential. By encouraging others to rise through the ranks, we have a far better chance of having more women in positions of power and achieving more equality. We want more women, not less, feeling like they can follow their passion and fulfill their dreams. I think we need to be conscious of our behaviour towards other women in the workplace and make sure we’re not being “Queen Bees”.

Peggy Drexler, professor of Psychiatry at Cornell School of Medicine, talks about the “Queen Bee Syndrome” in this Bloomberg video:


1. Francine D. Blau and Jed DeVaro (2007). “New Evidence on Gender Differences in Promotion Rates: An Empirical Analysis of a Sample of New Hires”. Cornell University ILR School. p. 16. Retrieved 26 May 2010.


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