Venus envy: problematizing solidarity behaviour and queen bees

Sharon Mavin (Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

Women in Management Review

ISSN: 0964-9425

Publication date: 1 June 2006



Aims to critique solidarity behaviour as a means of advancing women in management; questions the queen bee concept and raises negative relations between women.


Conceptual paper which critiques extant research and approaches to advancing women in management identifying alternative perspectives.


Assumptions of solidarity behaviour set expectations of senior women which cannot be fulfilled. Continued use of the unproblematized queen bee label, without acknowledgement of the embedded gendered context for women in senior management, perpetuates a “blame the woman” perspective as a “one‐woman responsibility”. Emerging from the gendered nature of organization, female misogyny may be a means of exploring negative relations between women to challenge existing gendered organizations which sustain the status quo.

Research limitations/implications

Mediates recommendations of senior women as mentors and role models, whilst blaming them for being more male than men, by calling for action to challenge and change the gendered social order which impacts on women in management. Empirical research is required.


Considers the impact of negative relations between women to highlight how the gendered social order encourages and exacerbates differences between women; challenges assumptions of solidarity behaviour and problematizes the queen bee label.



Mavin, S. (2006), "Venus envy: problematizing solidarity behaviour and queen bees", Women in Management Review, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 264-276.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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