However, it doesn???t take much to get women to compete more. In a recent study, the classic Niederle experiment was replicated with MBA students. The only change in the protocol was that right before doing the experiment, the MBAs were given one of two short surveys. One survey asked about their gender and family, and how many kids they had. The other survey quizzed them about their professional plans ??? what was their expected salary after graduation, et cetera. Women MBAs who took the family survey were reluctant to compete. Women MBAs who took the professional survey had no such reluctance. Even more of them wanted to compete than male MBAs.
To get women to compete, they need to be in a social context where competing is relevant to their success. When they choose to be overtly competitive, women, it seems, are more attuned to the context than men are.
“Just as you???d expect, girls who won the lottery and attended their first-choice charter school increased their odds of going to a four-year college. But boys who lost the lottery (and didn???t go to the charter school of their dreams) had better odds of attending a four-year college than boys who won the lottery.”