FEMALE boss or bossy female? According to a recent survey women can’t handle the stress of working for a queen bee.

Research showed that women with a female supervisor suffered far more than those with a male boss, reporting more psychological distress and physical problems.

They found women suffer more from depression, headaches and insomnia if they take their orders from a member of the same sex.

Scientists who studied 1,800 workers, believe the explanation could lie in Queen Bee syndrome, in which successful women do not like to be surrounded by female competitors.

We asked women in business in Lancashire what they think.

Hannah Bano, 30, MD of Padiham-based 24hr Recruitment said: “The last four years I have experienced females members of staff expecting more sympathy from me in situations than males employees because of my sex.

“If they had targets to reach and they didn’t reach them they would expect me to be sympathetic to personal problems as to why they had struggled.

"They thought I would be a soft touch and just couldn’t see me as a boss.

“I have taken a step back and put a male manager in charge.

"He is the hands-on supervisor with the staff and reports back to me, and I find it works really well.

"Women probably find it easier to see him as the boss than me.”

Solicitor Rachel Horman, 35, a partner at Watson Ramsbottom Solicitors, Blackburn, said: “I am a female boss and most of our staff are women and I have found that most staff like to have the option of talking to a female boss especially if it concerns medical matters or family commitments.

"They do expect you to be more sympathetic even though I am the only partner who doesn’t have children!

“I have found that age has been the biggest hurdle as staff who are 20 odd years my senior don’t always like having to take instructions from a young ‘un.”

Margau Wright, a Colour Me Beautiful image consultant in Coppull, said: “When I was a boss I felt bullied by my female assistant.

"We shared a smallish office and I realised through her behaviour that she wanted my job.

“That in itself is fine, bring it on, but her behaviour was not.

"For example, she would arrive early to work and take my car parking space “When I would return to the office after any length of time, she would be sitting at my desk, using my equipment and making calls from my phone.

“At the time, I felt bullied, stressed out and very unhappy.

“The upshot was that eventually I found the situation unbearable and left to start my own business, which I ran successfully for 17 years.”

Cathie Metcalfe of Rossendale-based Gradient Consulting said: “My business partner Stephanie set up the company and I joined so she is the senior director, but she and I work well together: we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses so we make a good team.

“We don’t really consider one of us “the boss” on a day to day basis. I am not sure that men could work in that way.

“Because we are an office of females I think we are more open and honest with one another when there are issues and get them resolved more quickly.

“As female bosses we are definitely more family orientated; this year Gradient Consulting declared an extra holiday on GCSE results day, because three colleagues all had children who had sat exams.”