You have probably heard the stereotype that men don’t like having a female boss. It is also often cited as one of the primary reasons preventing women from reaching higher positions, because of their fear of social disapproval. Often, this stereotype is expressed in the form of accusations, such as by saying that men’s masculinity is so fragile that they are afraid of strong womyn.
“Even men who support gender equality may see these advances as a threat to their masculinity, whether they consciously acknowledge it or not”.
–Ekaterina Netchaeva, social “scientist”
Yet, when tested empirically, the hypothesis that men dislike having female bosses did not hold. On the contrary, only women were shown to have more negative work experiences under a female boss. This is far from being the first time that men are blamed for women’s aggression towards each other. Remember the Twitter study that showed that women slut-shamed each other just as much as men did? Or that time when the patriarchy was blamed for domestic violence in lesbian relationships?
Using two independent datasets of a total of more than 11,000 observations, the researchers investigated the role of the boss’ sex on job satisfaction. The analysis also included many other variables, such as the age and race of the respondent, and a myriad of characteristics of the boss in question.
In both data sets and across all variables, there was a persistent negative relationship between women’s work satisfaction and having a female boss. On the other hand, men did not show any difference in job satisfaction when having a male or female boss.
Remarkably, the authors statistically controlled for stereotypical perception of gender roles in employees. So “internalized misogyny” plays no role here.
The authors conclude with the following quote:
“From a normative perspective, our results call into question why employers would hire women for supervisory roles if they are no more productive than men but reduce the job satisfaction of female subordinates.”
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