Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Worker Poll: Women Fear a 'Queen Bee'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Worker Poll: Women Fear a 'Queen Bee'

Article excerpt

A RIFT in sisterhood gapes open in the statistics of a recently released Gallup Poll on gender bias.

The poll found that 46 percent of Americans would prefer to work for a boss who is a man. Only 20 percent would prefer working for a woman, with the remainder expressing no preference.

It is an unpleasant enough statistic. But it looks worse closer up. It seems that if women want to find out who is dragging their feet on the way to the gender revolution, we have but to look in the mirror. It is women who are more likely to resist working for a woman. A whopping 54 percent of women said they would prefer a male boss. Only 37 percent of men said the same. In a version of the survey done a year earlier, Gallup asked why. About 15 percent of the women cited experience with either a male or a female boss, said David Moore, managing editor of the Gallup Poll. Fewer than 10 percent said they thought men were smarter, more competent or made better leaders. The largest percentage of women had the most discomfiting explanation. "Two-thirds of the women who preferred to work for men said it was easier to get along with them, that women tended to be more uptight, that women are harder on other women," Moore said. That sound some people may be hearing right now is the grating of pervasive gender stereotypes on their egalitarian sensibilities. "It would be interesting to know how many of those women had ever had women bosses," said Ellen Bravo, executive director of 9to5, the National Association of Working Women. That's a question the Gallup Poll does not answer. Among women who have worked for other women, sociologist Anne Statham of the University of Wisconsin Parkside in Kenosha, says that more than half are eager to do so again. But there are working women who hear in the Gallup statistic a ring of truth. Take lawyer Susan Lifvendahl, 28, an associate at Ross & Hardies, who has worked for both men and women in three different law firms and only now finds herself in her first positive working relationship with a female supervisor. …

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