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“Women leaders are role models and mentors to other women and girls.”

That was the claim induced in a recent Deloitte analyse looking at the number of women in leadership roles around the world.

But what if the opposite was true?

Instead of acts as mentors could successful female boss be pulling up the ladder behind them because they perceive other women as a threat?

This is the theory known as queen bee syndrome.


First defined by psychologists at the University of Michigan in 1973, queen bee syndrome describes a woman in a position of authority in a male-dominated surrounding who treats subordinates more critically if they are female.

Prof Dame Sally Davies, England’s first female chief medical officer, utilized the word in 2014 when describing her own experiences in the health sector.

“I ensure it particularly in medicine – queen bees preening and enjoying being the only female, ” she said.

Margaret Thatcher, the UK’s first female prime minister, has been described as a queen bee for not promoting or furthering the careers of women in her cabinet.

In recent decades, there has been substantial increase in the number of women in work. But when it is necessary to rising to the top, girls remain under-represented at board level.

Deloitte’s study looked at 7,000 companies in 44 country level find girls made up just 15% of corporate committees around the world.

In the UK progress is being induced, albeit slowly. The number of FTSE 100 companies where women make up 33% of their committees increased from 19% to 28% in the past year .~ ATAGEND

So is queen bee behaviour stymie women’s advance?

Opinion on the subject is divided.

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One recent study in the US argues the phenomenon does exist.

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