In 2023, just 10% of Fortune 500 CEOs were women, and that was a record high. Why?

Economists have advanced the idea that women are less competitive than men, and that this can help explain why there is a persistent gender wage gap. Women are less likely to negotiate higher salaries, ask for well-deserved pay raises, apply for promotions even when fully qualified, and shy away from male-dominated, higher-paying positions.

Challenging conventional wisdom and the status quo, Mary L. Rigdon, Freedom Center Director and Associate Professor of Political Economy & Moral Science at the University of Arizona, will present her latest research on gender competitiveness as part of the University of Arizona Commission on the Status of Women’s, “A Woman’s Worth-Advancing and Empowering” event. Her talk, “Understanding Competitiveness and the Gender Wage Gap,” details how social incentives can tap into women’s natural competitiveness. 

Mary has become one of the foremost experts on gender competitiveness and the wage gap. Her research, funded by the National Science Foundation and pursued with Alessandra Cassar, Professor of Economics at the University of San Francisco, provides a deeper understanding of gender competitiveness while discovering new questions and opportunities for future exploration.

Rigdon’s research has been cited by the World Economic Forum as one of fifteen strategies helping to close the gender wage gap around the world, and national and international media have covered it. She was a featured speaker at the 2023 UArizona Wonder House at SXSW.

Learn more about Mary’s research.