This is how society teaches women and girls not to be competitive

Men have the propensity of feeling threatened by the competitiveness of women. This tendency is arguably supported by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie a Nigerian novelist when she noted in one of her novels entitled ‘We should all be feminists’ , that “the insecurity that men have when they see women becoming competitive is triggered how boys are brought up, how their self-worth is diminished if they are not ‘naturally’ in charge as men”


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I have therefore used Adichie’s quote as an escort to help me explore how the society teaches women not to be competitive.

Boys and girls are all  born competitive but the  socialization of  the society makes girls less competitive .   Often times you hear people say ‘ stop behaving  like a girl and act like a real man’ these sentiments whether they are said consciously or for the lack of it, clearly highlight that  society  believes males  are better off  than their female counterparts. Culturally boys   automatically become heads of their families in case the father dies .such kind of socialization is wrong  especially if the empowerment of the girl child is to come into play .it actually  qualifies females as second class citizens and  in society for example if  a post arises, they will  opt to vote for a male counterpart instead of supporting their female counterparts, because they have been socialized to believe  that they can’t really compete with men.This is greatly wrong and such belief need to be abolished because ” culture does not make people, people make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not culture, then we can and must make it our culture”

Society has also a tendency of labelling women who are very active in politics or any other higher leadership positions by referring to them as social deviants. More often the higher you go up the ladder, the lesser women you will find, those few women in those positions are at times argued to be using’bottom power’ or ‘licking the right ass’ as Adichie noted, as an aftermath women will be holding those posts ceremoniously .Culturally the society teaches females from a tender age that if they want to get married, they should be loyal and not try to excerise power because men hate competition especially from their wives. So this alone is a repelling factor  , women end up not competing for very high political, economic or any higher leadership posts, they  fear  being  rejected or punished . It is thus important to note that socialization plays a key role in determining the competitiveness of women and girls.

The research done  Steffen Anderson, Seda Ertac, Uri Gneezy, John A.  List and Sandra Maximiano  entitled ” Gender, Competitiveness and Socialization at a young age :Evidence from a Matrilineal  and a Patriarchal Society” highlighted that  disparities between men and women  range from charges of discrimination  to claims that women are more sensitive to family conflicts than men, therefore they become less inclined to make career sacrifice compared to their male counterparts. As an aftermath women became less competitive in competing for higher and challenging  career posts.

Furthermore, religion plays also a role in sabotaging women’s efforts of  empowering themselves, it teaches women to  learn things quietly, never argue and  to be submissive .quoting from the Christian bible 1 Timothy 2:11-12  it says ” let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness .I do not permit a woman to teach or to excerise authority over man, rather, she is to remain quiet”. Religion is therefore being used by society as an opium to make women docile  and less competitive.  Each time  a woman wants  to be more agitated and assertive, she is being reminded that she needs not do that or she will be acting against what God has instructed.

Moreover, a sizeable body of research in psychology and  sociology has put forward the sociocultural construct of gender  and gender roles as a potential factor behind gender differences  and competitiveness between men and women . For example  most societies that are patriarchal believes that a woman’s best place is the kitchen, she is ought to be a perfectionist in that area . Therefore if a woman is now working and has a challenging job, she will no longer have time to attend to kitchen issues . This becomes unacceptable and  is said to have deviated from the normal practice of a married woman.

To elucidate further, lineage descends through the male and women move to the household of their husbands when they marry and they  change their surnames  . This whole process  makes women less competitive as they know they are going to get married and start a new life with someone else .Some cultures for example the Maasai people of Tanzania don’t believe girls should be going to school, they believe it’s a waste of resources .Daughters  are not counted   in terms of the number of children one has . This actually  makes the women ignorant and less competitive .

Lastly I would like to believe that   the same society that has played a crucial role  in making women and girls less competitive can become the primary socializing agent of change and encourage girls and women to be more  competitive  as it is proved psychologically that men and women are all born competitive, but women became less competitive at puberty . This is the period where  gender and gender roles are more emphasized by  the society .

After all, everything was once impossible until one day, someone stood up ,shakes of gloves of impossibility and made it a possibility.


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