Category Archives: Gender and Success

Are Women Less Competitive? Or Smarter?

The “gender and success” group should take a look at a new study that casts a different kind of light on some classic social science work that suggests that women shy away from competition.   This study asks if that is or isn’t a good thing.  Here’s a popular account.  Check out the work itself and see what you think:

Do Women Inhibit Their Own Performance?

Gender is one topic we’ll be addressing in “Surprise Endings.”   What does it mean to be a woman or a man in our society–or in other societies?  Look around us!  The world is gendered.  Why?  Even in such “open access” forums as Wikipedia, only 13% of contributors are women–yet women make up a majority of teachers, librarians.  Why?  What does this mean?  Today, in a column called “Social Science Palooza III,” NY Times opinion author David Broooks writes:  “Women inhibit their own performance. In a study published in Self and Identity, Shen Zhang, Toni Schmader and William M. Hall gave women a series of math tests. On some tests they signed their real name, on others they signed a fictitious name. The women scored better on the fictitious name tests, when their own reputation was not at risk.”   Here’s the url:    The question for our unit on gender might be what does it mean if women inhibit themselves?  Do we blame women–or work on changing culture?  In what different ways to men inhibit themselves in society (i.e. higher high school drop out rate, lower life expectancy, etc)?  Why?   How do literature and social science differently address this deep question?