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Queen Bee phenomenon a myth, women leaders support other women’s careers

The “Queen Bee” phenomenon - which suggests that women who succeed in male-dominated settings mistreat subordinate female professionals - may be a myth, a study has found. Portrayals in the media and academic research suggest that females act like queen bees, when they succeed in their careers - contributing to gender inequality in the work place.

The phenomenon is widely documented in the world’s press. For example, Margaret Thatcher, the UK’s first female prime minister, received the “queen bee” label for not promoting the careers of other women in her cabinet. “Previous research on the queen bee phenomenon stems from illustrative case studies that are not representative or surveys that do not establish the true causal effects of appointing women to power,” said Paulo Arvate, professor at the Sao Paulo School of Business Administration in Brazil.