Sunday, December 07, 2008

More about gender differences and competition

One of the truisms of the neo-paleo-conventional wisdom on gender is that women are less competitive than men. They choose non-competitive activities when given a choice, and don't enjoy competition the way men do when they have to compete. They particularly don't like to compete against men.

So, is it true?

A couple of interesting studies casting doubt on this proposition:

Gender differences in preferences for competition may have a large cultural component. Among the Khasi, a matrileneal and quasi-matriarchal culture in India, women are more likely than men to select competitive tasks and environments.

Women's competition aversion may also be peculiar to activities in which men are commonly perceived to excel more than women. In other words, it may be related to "stereotype threat."

Is this the final word? Does this prove that there are no inherent differences between men and women in level of (and enjoyment of) competitiveness? No, of course not. It's just an interesting challenge to conventional wisdom.


SToby said...

You make it sound so logical that there are more individual differences than gender differences. However, while both individual and gender differences certainly exist, I have evidence the gender differences are not small. Like all humans, I've never been of the other gender, so saying anything about gender differences from experience is not possible.

However, once I had children of the other gender I had the opportunity to observe their behavior closely (and to monitor my own reactions). At a soccer game, I discovered just how big gender differences are. My 5-year-old female twins took the field on a coed team (management having discovered that at this age there is no difference in athletic performance). However, the twins, normally very energetic and at least one of them athletic, soon became uninterested in playing, just standing there watching as the ball went by, and moving away when the much more aggressive boys plunged into the melee around the ball. I discovered, even though I am no sports fan in general, that I was soon yelling and jumping up and down...demanding that they kick the %#$% ball and not stand there like idiots! One of the other fathers even said his little girl might as well take off her team shirt if she was going to hang back like that. It's also significant that these girls are prepubescent, and therefore we cannot attribute their behavior to hormones; it is an inherent feature of how their brains are wired.

Now I realize this evidence is not statistically significant in a sociological sense, it is anecdotal, but 2 out of 2 (100%) of my daughters did not take an active role in soccer -- in fact none of the little girls did even though they outnumbered boys on the team. It's also significant that their father found their performance frustrating (that's 100% of the men in the family) while their mother thought it was great they were getting fresh air and exercise.

In fairness, I should say I agree that there are certainly women who are non-nurturing and competitive, but those characteristics usually appear in different guises depending on gender (for women, less likely to erupt in physical violence). The "exception that proves the rule" is Danica Patrick, in IndyCar racing. She seems to fly into fits of rage when another driver balks her on the track -- to the point where security men have regularly had to hold her back from punching out one of her competitors when they pull into the pits. This is all the more ludicrous because she is reportedly rather a small woman and would certainly come off much the worse in actual fisticuffs.

Cathy Young said...

Hi, Steve! :) Good to hear from you.

Don't have the time for a long answer right now, but here's an interesting study that deals specifically with soccer players:

Do boys and girls view competition in different ways?

Anonymous said...

logo design Outsourcing | power point presentation design outsourcing | flash demos outsourcing

Anonymous said...

brochure design outsourcing | hoarding design outsourcing

Anonymous said...

You will never find swimsuit more excellent than in Ed Hardy!
ed hardy ugg boots
ed hardy love kills slowly boots
ed hardy love kills slowly
We provide you with the sexiest swimwear at present. Wanting to be bright on beach in this
ed hardy polo shirts
ed hardy love kills slowly shoes
ed hardy wear
Abandoning traditional concepts on sexy swimwear, Ed Hardy adds tattoo upon, which is meaning
how your outline if only you like now! Genuine material admits you to throw your whole worr
ed hardy love kills slowly shirts
ed hardy trousers
ed hardy jackets
It seems that ed hardy mens shoes was difficult to be able to let you exist out in swimwear, the
just fold, flouncing, bow and swim suits, Ed Hardy has been widely worn in open.
ed hardy t shirts sale
ed hardy womens t shirts
ed hardy boots
In the trunks term, the Panerai candy-flush has mainly took the Louis Vuitton Speedy purpose
I fondness ed hardy womens Swimwear shirts, and other printing of
ed hardy womens clothes
ed hardy womens shirts
ed hardy clothes
swimwear in an austere tone proposal combines the exclusive tailoring,
wimwear this summer to become the mainstream trend. Cool down, sunshine fair,
ed hardy outerwear
ed hardy womens
ed hardy womens jeans
green MOISTURE, attractive red no other elements,
together with the unique thwart-buckle create worn, immediately show a charming beauty.
ed hardy bags
ed hardy winter boots
ed hardy t shirts
Whether it is sexy bikini, or cross-quantity g-star
trunks intended to reach new heights with this dynamic.Enjoy yourself on Ed Hardy Bikini Swimsuit please!
ed hardy bags
ed hardy winter boots
ed hardy t shirts
The desired redden of this type
of bag, but once again the label that ed hardy and the Christian Audigier Brand Manage
Louboutin at MAGIC in August 2009.
ed hardy t shirts for men
ed hardy mens jeans
ed hardy mens shoes
The total spectrum of Audigier Brand Management lifestyle brands and crop will be
including ed hardy shirts, Christian Audigier, SMET, Crystal Rock, C-Bar-An and R
ed hardy mens shoes
ed hardy womens hoodies
ed hardy mens tees

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information. This is a wonderful post!!
power point presentation design | drug logo design

Unknown said...

nice share thanks a lot :)

download free pc games
affiliate review

newlaunchsingapore said...

Thanks for your article. I really appreciate how the author shared his point of view. I like to share this to all my friends and this site is already added to my bookmark list. Keep on posting and please keep us updated. Thanks for sharing. Great websites!

EON Shenton

Unknown said...

can we are saying, RS Moneya lot of popular with lot disapproval on those who are able to carry out the daring work of difficult an authoritarian express, in the comfortable perch of someone who's gw2 Goldmost unlikely to help be of their sneakers.

Unknown said...

Runescape Gold Service on 24/7/365 in MMORS.Buy Cheap RS Gold Deliver in 5 Minutes,Fast Delivery and Low Prices!More Cheap Runescape Gold 100% Security Guarantee!