The phrase “queen bee” brings to mind Regina George, Heather Chandler, Cher Horowitz, even Miranda Priestly—ladies in charge. The term has also been used to describe a syndrome of top professional women keeping other women out of senior positions—something that's (surprise!) a myth, according to new research from Columbia Business School.

In reality, a lack of women in top roles is due to men’s determination to retain control. The study looked at top management teams at 1,500 companies over a span of 20 years. Where women were chief executives, it was more likely that there would be other women in senior positions. When women were in senior roles that were not the top position, the likelihood of women holding other top positions declined by 50 percent.


The “implicit quota” described by the research team is one that all women in the workforce face: Firms seek to maintain a small number of women on their top management team, usually only one. While firms gain legitimacy from having women in top management, the value of this legitimacy declines with each woman.”

New Fall Issue d217c


At least we can shoot down the idea that women in the workforce are as an entity competitive, jealous, and unwilling to support one another… as if.

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