According to the queen bee theory, a female senior manager should have a more negative impact on the other women trying to climb into professional ranks. When strategy professors studied the top management of the Standard & Poor’s 1,500 companies over 20 years, they found something that seemed to support the notion. In their study, when one woman reached senior management, it was 51 percent less likely that a second woman would make it.

“The catty woman” who refuses to help other women achieve is *not* a myth. She exists, still, in places where women are only tokens, not…
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But the person blocking the second woman’s path wasn’t usually a queen bee; it was a male chief executive. When a woman was made chief executive, the opposite was true. In those companies, a woman had a better chance of joining senior management than when the chief executive was a man.

In business and in government, research supports the notion that women create opportunities for women. On corporate boards, despite having stronger qualifications than men, women are less likely to be mentored — unless there’s already a woman on the board. And when women join the board, there’s a better chance that other women will rise to top executive positions. We see a similar pattern in politics: In Latin America between 1999 and 2013, female presidents appointed 24 percent more female ministers to their cabinets than the average for their region.