In the Company of Women: The Well-Being Consequences of Working with (and for) Other Women

  • Carol T. KulikEmail author
  • Isabel Metz
  • Jill A. Gould
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)


This chapter explores how women’s well-being in organizational contexts is enhanced – but also diminished – by other women. On the one hand, the relational demography literature, particularly research based on social categorization and social identity theories, suggests that women will be attracted to other women and are likely to advocate on their behalf. On the other hand, the literature on mentoring and leadership provides evidence that women can be disadvantaged by female mentors and supervisors. Further, research based on status characteristics theory suggests that the mere presence of other women may devalue occupations and organizational roles, yet the number of female top managers appears to positively affect subsequent female representation in middle management positions. We review the psychology, sociology and management literatures to produce a better understanding of how social (e.g., societal stereotypes) and structural (e.g., gender composition) factors influence whether the presence of other women has a positive or negative effect on the well-being of working women.


Relational demography Sex similarity Well-being Mentoring Supervisor-subordinate relationships Women 



Preparation of this chapter was supported by Australian Research Council Linkage Projects grant LP120200475 in partnership with Aegis and the Australian Senior Human Resources Roundtable.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ManagementUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Melbourne Business SchoolUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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