Women have certainly come a long way in terms of getting rights in the work place and in society, in general. Even though women have come a long way, we can not forget that just a few years ago, when Mrs. Clinton ran for President, there were men who protested and held up picket signs that said “iron my shirt,” implying that she was better suited to do house chores than be the commander in chief.
Even though many women can earn their place as “the boss,” they still have many challenges that their male counterparts may not have. Just because they have the position, it does not guarantee that they will have the respect and cooperation of their subordinates.
Dr. Robi Ludwig, a contributor at TODAY, says,
“According to a few new studies. Three quarters of men said they would much rather work for a man than a woman. A quarter of women polled found their female bosses to be backstabbing and to have poor personal boundaries when it came to sharing their personal lives at the office. Another study found that female bosses were easily threatened, emotionally unpredictable or irritable. Other negative descriptors for the female boss included, “moody,” “sharp tongued,” “too cliquey” and “vain.””
As if that were not bad enough, according to the American Management Association, 95 percent of women felt undermined at some point in their career by other women.
There is even a term that is commonly used to describe the female boss that nobody wants: Queen Bee Syndrome.
“The Queen Bee boss is the alpha female who tries to preserve her power at all costs. Instead of promoting her younger counterparts, she feels threatened by them, judges them, talks about them and, in many cases, ends up obstructing their attempts to climb the corporate ladder.”
Ludwig goes on to explain that the problem may not necessarily be the women in the leadership position who is the main issue, but how she is perceived.
“In some cases, women who reach the top, try to manage like men, yet it doesn’t work as well for them. Men can behave in a way found unacceptable in women. Loud, public directives from the female boss is often interpreted as nasty or offensive. For men, this is not always the case. Perhaps this is because women are expected to be more maternal and interact on a more personal and intimate level.”
Another issue that Ludwig points out is that women are taught, from a young age, that being young and attractive is what makes them valuable so they may see younger women as a threat. Men don’t have this problem because they are valued at every stage of their life and may even be more valued in the workplace as they get older. “There are a lot of older men in top positions who are considered at the top of their game, ” says Ludwig.
So, what is the solution? Says Ludwig,
“I believe as more options become available to women and the workplace continues to expand, female bosses will find their own confident niche. They’ll even become the nurturing, supportive bosses that social theorists always believed they could be.”
Nomalanga helps Black Women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter