Do women have egos?
Posted: 20 May, 2016
By: Annemarie Lombard
Section: Relationships, Wellness
I was asked this during dinner conversation recently: Do women have egos? My immediate response was “NO, of course not” but it made me think long and hard afterwards. Was this an answer based on my personal perception or was I reflecting something about womanhood in general? My first, intuitive, gut “NO” response was driven by my primitive brain and can make us biased in our thinking and actions. Read Daniel Kahneman’s book; “Thinking fast and slow” to understand how many of our daily behaviors are driven by the intuitive, primitive brain. After reading this, I know how easy we can be fooled by ourselves and our own answers.
So what is ego then – having to make sense of this? Ego is easiest described as a reflection of a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. And if we look at psychology sources to understand the meaning of ego, then it is part and parcel of human nature and then yes, all women do have egos. HOWEVER, in most contexts ego is usually seen as negative and a way for people to boast, throw their weight around, stand their ground and have a strong competitive streak. And the question asked to me and answered with the intuitive no, was referring to this general negative ego.
So, I am going to stand by my answer of no and give you 5 reasons why I think women don’t have (negative) egos. Admittedly there are plenty of office witches and female bullies who certainly have huge egos, more scary than their male counterparts. We are not referring to them (they need blame and shame), but to women in general.
Please note that reading this comes with a huge disclaimer: I love men and have nothing against them. This is purely to highlight how we, as women are different, and (mostly) not driven by negative ego. J
Five reasons why I think women don’t have negative egos
1. Estrogen vs. testosterone
Female behaviour is influenced by the hormone estrogen, while men are influenced by testosterone. Put a group of males together and the competitive streak will surface, wherever and whenever. It is always present, sometimes clearly and sometimes silently in the background, but they are always looking for a “winner”. The workings of estrogen in women create a natural sense of nurturing and caring. Negative egos stand in the way of caring and nurturing. Read the “Female Brain” by Louann Brizendine to understand more about the core drivers of the female brain.
2. Women are better listeners and communicators
Women have capacity to listen for longer and it is important to them to communicate effectively. They are usually more intuitive and open to people’s feelings and typically can sense when people are upset, angry or sad. They just naturally read non-verbal behaviour and nuances of others faster and easier. As a result they will anticipate the needs of others and communicate accordingly. The saying “where women have intuition, men have logic” has been used extensively, and although criticized and not entirely true, it explains some of the core differences between the way women and men operate. Women also have logic and men have intuition but the reverse is more natural and intuitive.
3. Women bond more deeply
Women form deeper bonds with their female friends and nurture these relationships more. Girls nights out, book clubs, scrapbooking conventions, etc. come to mind. Particularly in our busy, overloaded worlds, it will become more and more important to make time for one another. Women give time, they engage and connect. They also receive the necessary reciprocity from their female friends. It is important to them.
4. Play hard, work harder
Women have to work harder to climb the corporate ladder than males. This is a known fact across the world, and I hope and believe that women know they cannot beat their male counterparts with negative ego. It is particularly their woman-ness used in a confident, assertive and competent way that will give them the edge. They don’t need negative ego. This is what makes them better in leadership positions. Organisations are driven by people not machines, women get this. They are people and solution focused – where it matters most.
5. Forces to be reckoned with
I came across this blog by female entrepreneur, Ayanda Mbanga, which sums up the differences between men and women in business pretty accurately. The World Economic Forum is also supporting the role of women in economic growth, social inclusion, gender parity and science and technology developments. Women (and mothers) are the central forces in families and communities. They combine all their natural skills and abilities to care, support, assist and lead. They have massive capacity to influence and change the world, and I believe they are. One day at a time.
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