Career | Entrepreneurship

Where Are Women On The Competitiveness Ladder?

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Competitiveness is the possession of a robust desire to be more successful than anyone else. Evolutionary psychology suggests that behaviors are shaped by natural selection. The female competes with another female for a suitable male, subconsciously upholding traits such as physical attractiveness and personality that she thinks the man wants. What is prominent in a woman’s subconscious is the compulsion to survive and reproduce.

Research has also shown that women are more willing to compete against other women against men. The manifestation of female competition is passive aggressive behaviour towards their own sex; belittling and undermining hamper progress and women are then not taken seriously.

Ultra-competitive reality shows like Big Brother Canada often mimic real life where players are pitted against one another and they provide a microscopic view of how people behave, teaching you about the strategies they can employ in a competitive setting. The goldfish bowl that is a reality show brings these issues under painful and candid scrutiny. However, this medium is useful for both observing human behaviours and correcting negative ones.

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Years of research suggest that men are more competitive than women. Psychologists reason that there is a greater willingness to compete by men more so than women. For example, women earn less than men in the same job and there are fewer of them in powerful positions. One of the reasons offered by psychologists for why these disparities still exist is the perceived willingness.

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According to the OECD in 2013, only 20% of the board members of high-profile companies were women. The rate in the U.S. and Canada was below 30% compared to Northern European countries with 40%. Germany was surprisingly low at 10%. In 2003, Norway passed a law that mandated a quota for women in public limited liability companies, requiring at least 40% of board members be females. In a 2016 report, the number of women on boards had risen a few points to 27.8% in the U.S.

In a highly competitive environment, research shows that male executives undertake more acquisitions than female executives. However, the fact that the returns made by male executives are lower than female executives is underreported.

Whereas an aggressive woman is seen as bossy, an aggressive man is seen as confident — another stereotype that subtly paints a competitive woman as negative. This outdated view of gender differences requires a reboot and review of personal strategies. However, it is imperative to learn to pick your battles. Concentrating on insignificant battles is a waste of time and are distracting. Discover what your role is: Are you the leader, the collaborator or the team player.

Business woman

The reality show context teaches the importance of alliances and relationships. So, create positive social relationships by learning to make eye contact, be personable and let go of issues. People are generally fighting towards the same thing, but just in different ways. So, look to work together with relationship building, which is a key skill that ends in success. In a world where perception is quite often gender-based, learning how to capitalize on social relationships will assist in life in the competitive, fast lane.

Ultimately, it is important to learn how to exude self-confidence and show an interest in others, yet still, maximize your natural inclinations. If you are inherently self-confident, be the leader; if friendly, be the team player; if you are creative, be the ideas person. But remember, leverage who you are so that you can compete effectively as you climb higher up the ladder.


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