Friday, January 15, 2010

Girls are as competitive as boys

It is generally accepted that women are less competitive than man, and this could be one explanation for the lack of females at the top of the pyramid in most aspects of society. The important question is whether this difference in competitiveness is innate or acquired: whether somehow biology made women less competitive, or whether the cultural environment has something to do with it.

To establish whether biology matters, one needs an environment where women (and men) have not been influenced. Probably the best one can imagine is childhood in Sweden, where extra care is take to have the children be raised in an environment without gender prejudices. Anna Dreber, Emma von Essen and Eva Ranehill let 7-10 old Swedish children play several competitive sports (running, skipping rope and dancing) and see no differences. We learn from this that biology is not a factor at least for pre-teenage years. Whether the hormonal kick in puberty is gender neutral is less likely.

No comments: