Are Women’s Careers Held Back By Other Women?


New research says that women's careers may be held back by…other women.

Women bosses are significantly more likely than men to discriminate against female employees, research has suggested.

The study found that when presented with applications for promotion, women were more likely than men to assess the female candidate as less qualified than the male one.

Interesting. As I started thinking about what this could mean, I hit a spot in the article that made me question the validity of the research.

They used 705 participants living in southern Spain to evaluate the credentials of a male and female employee of a make-believe corporation who were proposed for promotion to a managerial position as a production supervisor.

After reading a description of the role and company, the participants were told to read each potential leader's CV and imagine their characteristics and likely success by evaluating them on several issues related to the job.

That doesn't exactly seem like a process to get solid evidence about this issue. I'm not saying the conclusion is incorrect. "Queen bee" syndrome may be a real thing, but the evidence for it is only this weak research and some anecdotes.

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  • Even though the research does seem questionable, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true. In my experience, women can be more critical and aggressive towards other women in a professional context. It’s almost a defensive behavior. I suppose since it’s a challenge to simply be on an equal playing field as men, we therefore carefully guard our hard earned positions.

  • NoName

    I think research like these are just crap. We are told not to generalize on other cultures and here we are, doing even worse, generalizing on half the planet. Everyone is different, and someone’s personality has probably little to do with that person’s gender.

  • I absolutely believe that women tend to hold other women back.
    Its not just a “woman” thing but I strongly feel its a “people” thing.
    I struggled for 13 years with it before finially finding my “dream life”. 13 years!
    One thing to remember, Always take the high road!