Women who have a female boss are more likely to experience stress at work than those with a male boss, new research has found.

According to a study by researchers at the University of Toronto, there is no difference between the stress levels suffered by male employees with female bosses and those working for men.

However, female employees with women managers claim to experience more stress and associated symptoms such as headaches and insomnia than those whose supervisors are male.

Scott Schieman, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto, said it is difficult to explain why this is the case.

"It’s a puzzle for us," he told the Canwest News Service. "At this point, we have documented the pattern but we haven’t been able to explain it."

A report published by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission earlier this month revealed that despite a modest increase in the number of women working in influential roles, women are still facing a number of barriers to career progression.