Does Nature or Nuture Make Women Less Competitive?

In the process of aiming a well targeted empirical arrow at the misogynistic tosh spouted by UKIP chairman Stuart Wheeler, Chris Dillow of Stumbling and Mumbling points out some interesting research about why women appear on average less competitive.

Unsurprisingly – and disappointingly for unenlightened figures like Wheeler – this is not because there is anything inherently weaker or less brave about women. Rather it seems to be down to social conditioning. To illustrate this Dillow uses research showing that:

Girls from single-sex schools tend to be more competitive, and to choose more “masculine” subjects than girls from mixed schools. This could be because mixed schools make girls more aware of their gender than do single-sex schools.

Wheeler’s attitudes are thus not a reflection of reality but an example of the pernicious prejudices that shape it.


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