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queen bee syndrome


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A tendency for some individually successful women in male-dominated environments to block the advancement of junior female colleagues and to be intolerant of competition from members of their own sex. The term was coined by the Australian-born US social psychologist Graham L. Staines (born 1946) and two colleagues in an article in the magazine Psychology Today in 1974, in the narrower sense of a tendency of successful women to oppose the women's liberation movement, and experimental evidence for the phenomenon in its more general form was reported in an article in the British Journal of Social Psychology in 2004 in which it was suggested that the syndrome may contribute to the ‘glass ceiling’ in organizations in which individually successful senior women, strongly represented on appointment and promotion committees in the interests of equal opportunities, may be less likely than men to support female applicants for appointments and promotions. See also sexism, stereotype. [So called because a bee colony has only one reproductive queen, all other female (worker) bees being infertile and serving the queen]

Subjects: Psychology.


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