This is a place where we would like women in aid and development to come and feel supported and find resources and a community but then you have articles like this that pop up in the Wall Street Journal.
Bit scary to read to be honest. I’ve been super lucky to have both men and women managers and colleagues/mentors that have been so supportive of me and my work. They’ve helped me along the way, taught and shared with me many of their pearls of wisdom. But then it seems you have can have this as well:
The term “queen bee syndrome” was coined in the 1970s, following a study led by researchers at the University of Michigan—Graham Staines, Toby Epstein Jayaratne and Carol Tavris—who examined promotion rates and the impact of the women’s movement on the workplace. In a 1974 article in Psychology Today, they presented their findings, based on more than 20,000 responses to reader surveys in that magazine and Redbook. They found that women who achieved success in male-dominated environments were at times likely to oppose the rise of other women. This occurred, they argued, largely because the patriarchal culture of work encouraged the few women who rose to the top to become obsessed with maintaining their authority.
The aid sector is notoriously a patriarchal, alpha male type culture of work. I had posted this article on FaceBook and did in fact get a response from a woman who said she HAD faced this at work (her solution was to get out of there asap). My questions for all of you:
Do you sometimes suspect you might be a queen bee? What are those feelings and how do you deal with them?
Are you in a senior manager position as a woman and what do you see as your responsibility to women working with you? Is it an equal playing field? Do you have to feel responsibility for other women out there trying to follow your foot steps to senior level positions?
For my males out there: ever see the dynamics of this play out and what are your thoughts on it?
I most certainly have my opinions on this and have been in senior level positions (at a women’s empowerment org where the woman to male ratio was seriously skewed on our side), however, before I get started (and I will), wanted to hear from others on this.