Female boss equals more stress

Are you more stressed out working for a female boss?

Women who work under a female boss are more stressed out than if their manager is male, say university researchers.

According to research, working for a ‘Queen Bee‘ – think Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada – means women are more likely to suffer from depression, insomnia, headaches and heartburn than if their boss is a man.

Researchers in Canada analysed the working lives of 1,800 American women and believe that many women object to working alongside competitors of the same sex, leading them to the dub the situation Queen Bee Syndrome.

The stress levels of volunteers were compared in three different situations: working for a male boss, working for a female boss and working for both.

The findings revealed that women who work solely for a female manager are more stressed that those who work exclusively for a male boss.

Stresses included trouble sleeping, problems focusing on work, depression and anxiety as well as headaches, back pain and fatigue.

Study author Scott Schieman believes the causes may be down to traditional stereotypes as it is more ‘normal’ for men to be leaders and exhibit management qualities. Schieman explains that while women might expect a male manager to be demanding, they don’t anticipate the same behaviour from women.

Schieman also explained that it may be the type of work that women do that influences these stresses. He describes: ‘For example, women working with a woman supervisor might tend to be found mostly in the caring sector or in jobs that tend to be under-resourced, under-funded and under-valued, such as social work or education, creating stress both for the workers themselves and stress for the boss that might trickle down to her subordinates.’

He concluded that further research is required, however, before concrete conclusions can be drawn.

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