Studies show why women with ample available resources rarely agree or work with each other. A string of four experiments on undergraduate students found that women view other women as more competitive than males. This is in situations with sufficient resources.
These findings were not observed in men or in circumstances of scarcity. The new study was published in the journal Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences.
The competitiveness of women is a recurring motif in popular culture. Most of the time, it is inferred that this competitiveness occurs in times of shortage, such as when women compete for the same job (that not all of them can get).
Although women in similar situations frequently compete with men, competition between women appears to pique the public’s interest considerably more.
Women’s competition differs from men’s competition in that women choose to compete in more indirect ways. Indirect forms of competition include spreading false reports or eliminating a rival from a social group. According to research, women try to hide, mask, or deny their competitiveness with one another.
The majority of the scientific work on female competition has concentrated on competing for romantic partners, although competition also occurs over financial and physical resources.
Hannah K. Bradshaw and her colleagues wanted to see if the availability of resources affected how men and women perceived the competition of other men and women. They carried out a number of studies.
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Studies Find Why Women With Resources Hardly Agree
So, below are the studies conducted:
The first study was an online poll meant to see if observers rated competitiveness differently between male, female, and mixed gender groups. There were 243 undergraduate students who were divided into two groups at random.
One group read a text that described and asked them to picture an impoverished town. The other group read a piece that described a prosperous one. Participants next responded to survey questions on how frequently competitive interactions happened between females, males, and males and females in the environments they read about.
The second study looked at whether people’s perceptions of others’ competition are influenced by their perceptions of scarcity.
A group of 236 undergraduate students completed questionnaires. This was about their beliefs about resource scarcity in their environment (for example, “financial uncertainty is increasing,” “there aren’t enough jobs for everyone who needs them,” and “people don’t need to worry about resource availability because there is plenty to go around”).
Following that, they were shown images of four males and four ladies and asked to rate their competitiveness. The researchers inferred same-gender and different-gender competitiveness based on the gender of the person in the photo. Also, the participant giving the competitiveness ratings.
The third study included 119 female undergraduate students. Participants were randomized into two groups at random. One group was asked to provide reasons why they believe the economy is deteriorating. Also, on why resources are becoming limited (scarcity condition).
The other group was asked to provide reasons why they believe the economy is improving (abundance condition). Following that, participants completed the competitiveness evaluation test utilized in the second study.
The Fourth Study
The purpose of the fourth study was to repeat the findings of the third study. The procedure was similar to that of the third study, except participants also performed extra tests after the procedure. The participants were 321 female undergraduate students.
Under scarcity scenarios, participants expected the highest amount of rivalry to occur between males. This was followed by male-female and female-female competitiveness. according to the findings of the first study.
In conditions of abundance, participants expected female-female competition to be the most pronounced. Also, male-female competition to be the least pronounced.
The second study discovered no general impacts of resource scarcity or participant sex on judgments of the competitiveness of people in photos.
Female participants with less prominent ideas about resource scarcity (i.e., those who believe their economic condition is better) viewed women in images as more competitive.
Males with more prominent attitudes about resource scarcity (i.e., believing that their environment’s economic position is worse) assessed women in images as more competitive than males (in photos). Men with low levels of resource scarcity views and women with high levels of resource scarcity beliefs, on the other hand, regarded males and females in the images as equally competitive.
In the third study, participants, all of whom were female, predicted that females in the images would be more competitive toward them than males (in the photos) in settings where resources were abundant. There were no differences in perceptions among those who envisioned a shortage condition, i.e., that the economy is deteriorating.
Female participants in Research 4 judged females in images as more competitive than males, independent of resource abundance/scarcity.
Conclusions On The Findings
“Our findings demonstrate that women view same-sex others to be more competitive than cross-sex others in circumstances when resources are freely available. “Our research implies that when resources are plentiful, women may perceive their same-sex counterparts to have more competitive inclinations than their cross-sex peers,” the study’s authors found.
Competition for resources among women can occur in a variety of contexts, including the job, social settings, and even inside families. This competition can be for a variety of resources, including material possessions, social standing, or access to suitable mates.
According to research, women may compete with one another more indirectly than men, employing methods such as reputation management, gossip, and exclusion. This indirect competition can be motivated by a variety of motives, including a desire for social approval and a desire to secure resources for oneself and one’s children.
It is crucial to highlight, however, that while competition for resources among women might exist, it is neither inevitable nor ubiquitous. Women often collaborate and create deep social relationships with one another. Furthermore, societal and cultural factors might alter the quantity and form of female competition in various circumstances.
This research gives insight on critical facets of human social behavior. It does, however, have restrictions that must be considered. Interestingly, the research was carried out on undergraduate students at a somewhat upper-class private university. The outcomes for people from various socioeconomic origins may differ.
Researchers also asked participants to estimate the competitiveness of others, thinking that people would strive to hide their own competitiveness. Yet, other people’s perceptions of competition may not translate into how competitive people behave in real-world settings.