30. Competition

Is competition “lady-like?” Do you care? Join us as we consider how women compete, challenge you to think about competition as a positive way and encourage you to use it to strive for the things that you want! GO FOR IT!!  


Science tells us women tend to compete in ways that minimize risk and use fewer resources.  For example, males in the animal kingdom (and we can include our own males) tend to engage in competition with riskier behaviors that use greater resources – think of a fist-fight over a perceived slight. Alternatively, females in our animal kingdom do the opposite  – think the silent treatment. The smart folk, also known as scientists, say this may be due to females’ generally greater responsibilities around procreation.

And of course, there is that nasty thing called the patriarchy that tells us that competitive behavior by women is socially unacceptable.  Women are often perceived negatively when they exhibit competitive traits. Our hosts call BS (bologna sandwich) on that!

Studies show that competition increases innovation and creativity, quality and productivity – and that most people perform better with competition.  Alternatively, too much competition or dysfunctional competition can kill morale, cause stress and just generally create more bologna sandwiches.

Crina and Kirsten talk about competition at work for jobs, raises, attention, respect and how we can engage in that in a positive way.  Kirsten shares her experience as a new lawyer in an office full of male co-workers as well as her experience participating in sports as forming her feelings about and approach to competition.  

Our hosts end by discussing a new approach to competition.  Using others as examples of what can be achieved and what you may want in your life can create inspiration. Is someone you know creating something in their life that you think is good?  Aspire to that thing – but rather than being motivated by jealousy, be motivated by what is possible and work to achieve that with confidence in yourself. Others can show us what is possible, but it has to be your journey and your inspiration.  And the joy of helping others along the way will carry you forward. 

Women Experience More Incivility at Work — Especially from Other Women

Opinion | Why Women Compete With Each Other

Gender and Competition


Competition Among Women: Myth and Reality

Female competition and aggression: interdisciplinary perspectives

(PDF) Sisters at Arms: A Theory of Same-Sex Conflict and Its Problematization in Organizations