The persistent gender wage gap is often explained by the difference in gender competitiveness, but this theory should at least be called into question. This is the message of a study conducted by scientists at the University of Arizona and the University of San Francisco, based on a survey of nearly 250 men and women who had to perform a series of competitive tasks.
According to scientists, there are clear signs that women simply express their competitiveness in a different way. According to the researchers, this could have interesting consequences for recruiting future leaders.
“Some say that women are less competitive than men, which makes them less likely to be promoted to senior positions with better salaries,” said study leader Mary Rigdon, an economics professor at the University of Arizona.
This should explain the persistent gender pay gap. But in reality, the situation is not so simple. We found that women are just as willing to compete as men, provided they have the opportunity to divide their winnings among the losers.”
“If we are to finally close the gender pay gap, we need to get to the root of the problem,” Rigdon notes. “Only then can solutions and remedies be put in place.”
In the United States, women seem to make only 82 percent of the salary of their male colleagues. This means that a woman has to work for about three months longer than her male counterpart for the same pay.
Rigdon asserts that “economists have put forward a number of possible explanations for the wage gap”. “It is suggested, among other things, that gender differences in certain skills can be identified, which may lead women more quickly to lower-paying jobs.”
Another theory mentions brutal discrimination. Still others argue that women are naturally less competitive and less willing to take risks than men.”
“But if women were more conservative, they wouldn’t be able to get to the top of the big companies,” Rigdon notes. “However, this is not the trend that can be observed in recent years.”
“Among the Fortune 500 companies, 8 percent of female CEOs can be identified. Although this is a low number, it is the highest level ever recorded. So it can be suggested that women are as competitive as men, but expressing It’s a different way.”
To substantiate their claims, the scientists set up a test in which the participants – both men and women – faced a number of tests, in which they had to solve a number of problems for a fee. The size of that reward was determined by the competitiveness of the chosen model.
Men often chose the most competitive option, in which only the strongest performance was rewarded. On the other hand, women were more likely to choose an option in which profits are distributed equally among all participants.
But this changed, when in the more competitive model, the winners could decide for themselves what percentage of their rewards, if any, would be distributed to other participants. Now, according to the researchers, a greater part of the posts have shifted to choosing the competitive model.
According to the researchers, there are some theories that could explain why women are more competitive when they can share the profits made.
“Participants may have just liked being able to control how profits are distributed among other participants,” they note. “Another theory – which has emerged among evolutionary psychologists – suggests that participants tend to use division to calm their uneasy feelings about their gains.”
The scientists say they are designing an experiment that should also provide an answer to that question.
“The results suggest that it is better for companies to work with diverse profiles for their managerial positions,” Rigdon said.
“Women may be more attracted to positions with a social component. This component may be missing in companies’ recruitment strategy, which often focuses on rewards and rewards.”
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