Women, Men, and Competition

Kadınlar, Erkekler ve Rekabet

Women are usually known to be less competitive compared to men. While women define themselves as less competitive, they are also less willing to go into a competition. This difference between women and men stands for performance at the workplace: Recent studies conducted by economists and political scientists show that competitive individuals are at socioeconomically better levels.

Why are women less competitive than men?

Previous studies point out the evolutionary process; the traditional roles the women have, together with the patriarchal social order, can be the reasons why women are less competitive. The fact that competition yields higher profits for men is one of the reasons why men are more competitive. Furthermore, the gender difference in the competitive power has been associated with higher levels of self-confidence in men.

The belief that they would have a low chance in winning the competition is another reason why women stay away from competition. The higher level of competitive power the men possess is explained by the more positive conviction they have about the outcomes of the competition.

In a study conducted to systematically and comprehensively measure the convictions of women and men about competition, women and men were asked what they consider to be good and positive, or bad and negative about competition. Consequently, 3 positive and 3 negative results were obtained:

Positive aspects of competition

  1. To increase the performance
  2. To develop the person’s character
  3. To bring in an ability of innovative problem-solving

Negative aspects of competition

  1. Potential of competition/conflict
  2. Encouragement of unethical behaviors
  3. Damaging the self-confidence and relationships of the people

Some differences were found following the evaluation of the beliefs of women and men about the positive/negative results of competition. It was observed that 63% of women were less convinced that competition would increase the performance, develop character and bring along innovative solutions, compared to men.

Competition at workplace has negative effects on us all. Quite a few of us question whether this type of competition is good or bad, or whether we should strive for becoming less or more competitive. Our convictions on competition can seriously affect our professional expectations and our potential to win. Questioning and understanding our convictions about competition may help us use the competition more properly.