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Journal cover: Women In Management Review

Women In Management Review

ISSN: 0964-9425
Currently published as: Gender in Management: An International Journal

Online from: 1985

Subject Area: Human Resource Management

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Venus envy 2: Sisterhood, queen bees and female misogyny in management

Document Information:
Title:Venus envy 2: Sisterhood, queen bees and female misogyny in management
Author(s):Sharon Mavin, (Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
Citation:Sharon Mavin, (2006) "Venus envy 2: Sisterhood, queen bees and female misogyny in management", Women In Management Review, Vol. 21 Iss: 5, pp.349 - 364
Keywords:Gender, Sexual discrimination, Women executives
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/09649420610676172 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – Using an alternative lens to challenge assumptions of solidarity behaviour and the queen bee label, the paper aims to analyse empirical data to explore negative relations between women in management and surface processes of female misogyny.

Design/methodology/approach – Feminist standpoint epistemology; qualitative semi-structured interviews; subjective narrative data from senior women and women academics of management in two UK organisations.

Findings – Assumptions of solidarity behaviour are largely absent in the research and the queen bee label impacts pejoratively on women in management, perpetuating a “blame the woman” perspective. Senior women do recognise barriers facing women in management but they do not want to lead on the “women in management mantle.” This does not make them queen bees; the women recognise becoming “male” in order to “fit” senior management and acknowledge the impact of their gendered context. From this context, processes of female misogyny between women in management fragment notions of solidarity; highlight contradictory places women take in relation to other women and challenge women as “natural allies.”

Research limitations/implications – Future research should engage women at all levels in management in consciousness-raising to the impact women have on other women. Organizational interventions are required to explicitly surface how the gender order exacerbates differences between them to maintain the gendered status quo.

Originality/value – Empirical paper using an alternative lens to problematize solidarity behaviour and queen bee, surfaces female misogyny between women in management and highlights how the gendered social order encourages and exacerbate differences between women.

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