Nice girls finish last; ‘queen bees’ get paid
Published: Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Updated: Friday, July 8, 2011 17:07
According to the U.S. Department of Education, despite having earned higher college GPAs in every subject, young women will take home, on average across all professions, just 80 percent of what their male colleagues do.
What's worse is that a Harvard study found that women who demand higher starting salaries are perceived as "less nice," and thus are less likely to be hired.
I cannot believe that, in 2011, women are still judged on how well they can play the nice girl role in order to be hired.
The problem is that once you have the job, the nice girl role will not necessarily get you promoted. It is because of this that some women are forced to be more aggressive in the workplace, leaving some to be seen as engaging in "queen bee" behavior.
According to a study in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, "queen bee" behavior amongst women is said to be a response to difficult, sexist work environments. An article in the Epoch Times defines women as queen bees if they are in upper management and are thought to discriminate against other women; for example, refusing to help another woman get a promotion.
I agree that the "queen bee" behavior may be a result of sexism and gender bias in the workplace. However, I do not believe this behavior is entirely a conscious decision. I do not think women in upper management positions wake up in the morning and say to themselves, ‘I think I'm going to try to prevent another woman from advancing in the ranks this week.' I believe the stress of trying to gain equal footing with men in the workplace will make one do whatever it takes to be noticed. To some, if that means snubbing the other ladies in the office, so be it.
Gender bias in the workplace creates an atmosphere where women feel as though they have to work twice as hard as the men do in order to get the same recognition.
Researcher Belle Derks of Leiden University states if you simply put women in higher positions without doing anything about the gender bias, women will be forced to distance themselves from the group. This suggests that if women have to choose between advancing their careers, helping to advance the careers of others, or maintaining friendships with others, some women will choose themselves.
While I think this is true of both genders, for women it may be seen as more beneficial to separate themselves from the group so they can be more readily accepted by the male-dominated organization. Being a woman does not make one any less capable or less competent.
So why is it taking so long for women to be viewed as equals?
Nearly 40 percent of American mothers are the primary breadwinners in their households, yet women's wages, according to Time, have increased just half a penny on the dollar for the past four decades. Are women not worth more than that?
All of these factors combine to make some workplaces difficult to handle and competitive in nature, fostering the "queen bee" behavior in that a woman may feel as though there is only room for a few females at the top. The queen bee does not want to help others get the position she's vying for.
Perhaps if upper management positions were given to more women more often, the scarcity principle would have less of an effect and there would be no need for the "queen bee" mentality.
However, with the slow speed in which equality is becoming a reality in the workplace, it may be a while before there is enough honey for the whole colony to enjoy; not just the queen.