Your Life >> Browse Articles >> Feminism and Women's Issues


Why Women Find it Harder Working for a Queen Bee Than a Male Boss

Why Women Find it Harder Working for a Queen Bee Than a Male Boss

The devil really does wear Prada: Fashion magazine editor and Queen Bee Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) was an insufferable boss to assistant Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) in the film The Devil Wears Prada

Daniel Martin | The Daily Mail

September 24, 2008

What with the glass ceiling, the wages and the child care difficulties it’s not as if the problems women face in the workplace haven’t been well-documented.

Now there’s a major, and somewhat unexpected, addition to the list – the female boss.

University researchers say women who have to answer to a female supervisor feel more stressed than if their superior is male.

They suffer from far more depression, insomnia, headaches and heartburn than if their boss is a man.

But for male workers, the sex of their manager makes no difference.

The Canadian team, which studied 1,800 U.S. workers, reckoned the explanation could lie in Queen Bee syndrome, in which successful women do not like to be surrounded by competitors of the same sex.

The University of Toronto scientists also suggested that many females do not like to be led by women because they see leadership as a traditionally male role.


Karen Smyth was driven out of her job by a ‘jealous’ woman boss. A study says women feel more stressed if their superior is female

This could be the reason why U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton failed to get her party’s nomination – or why Segolene Royal lost last year’s French presidential election.

For the research, stress levels and the physical health of workers were compared in three situations: working for one male boss, for one female boss, and those working for one of each.

The study found that women who have a lone female supervisor suffer far more than those who have a male boss.

They reported more psychological distress (such as trouble sleeping, difficulty focusing on work, depression and anxiety) and physical symptoms (like headaches, stomach pain or heartburn, neck and back pain, and tiredness).

But women who worked for a lone male supervisor had far fewer symptoms.

And those who worked for one of each were somewhere in the middle.

For the male workers, however, there was no difference in level of distress, no matter whether his boss was male or female.

Excelle School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use Excelle's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.

Recent Activity

daughterofzion received the quiz result of "ENTJ", about 3 hours ago.
janiese received the quiz result of "Your boss is Doing Well", about 18 hours ago.
Ckline received the quiz result of "Steady Supporter", 1 day ago.
LadyChameleon received the quiz result of "You are Very Introverted", 2 days ago.
REL2016 received the quiz result of "ENFJ", 4 days ago.
markleenct received the quiz result of "Steady Supporter", 4 days ago.
gmsutton received the quiz result of "Your boss is Doing Well", 6 days ago.
felixruverisursinus received the quiz result of "Keep It Comfy", 7 days ago.