Saturday, January 22, 2011

Are women competitive?

Standing in a group of people, I noticed that for once ( this being media-land) there were more women than men. One of the guys joked this is because men only outnumber women in positions of power. Thanks for that.

It made me think again about how we compete. Scroll around this blog and you will see plenty of competitiveness, winners and women who want to fulfill their potential. It's the same in politics and business so why do we lose out in the final numbers game?

lhourahane flickr
Somewhere along the line, we seem to develop a feeling that winning isn't all that. It's just not something good girls are supposed to do. If you think I'm being simplistic, read this great article from Dawn Redd titled "Women Warriors, What is the secret to making women competitive?"
She argues that we don't like to stand out alone, so working in teams is more productive and it's vital for competitive women to be in a competitive environment. She says where a man (to generalise) may do just as well being the sole achiever in a team of wasters that a woman would sink to the level in order to fit in. She works on creating a team ethic of success which encourages individuals to succeed. It's the kind of thinking that makes the hackles rise at first, then you stop and go - woah.

Many of the women on this blog, and women I've interviewed for other outlets speak about their sporting accomplishments in terms of  individual success but always refer to the great team they have supporting them, how everyone works together and really it's a team-game behind all the glitz. Maybe that is what we need to do to rationalise success - make like it's not all our own work anyhow?


a runners' life said...

Great post!
I think women are very competitive whether it's on the sporting field or in business or even on the playground - though some are more modest about it than some men.
Women today are becoming louder and prouder of their achievements and hard work and that's fantastic. Praising their support team means they realise that someone is backing them up - whether it's giving them a lift to a race, fixing them a post workout meal, or encouraging them to follow their dreams - these little things help a great deal to women's (and men's) achievements.

abeachcottage said...

Women are competitive in every field nowadays. It's not like in the old days where women are considered to just follow men.

niamh said...

@ a runners life - that is how I feel about support teams too, it is interesting that men don't always feel the same need to praise the back-room. I'm sure they know it, and feel it but we seem to draw-off the attention much more.

@ abeachcottage - thanks for dropping by. we are competitive, I just wonder if we have learnt how to own it yet?

Anonymous said...

Not as much as men. I mean, there's still more men than women in the world.