Mary Rigdon, PhD

Director, Arizona Center for the Philosophy of Freedom
Associate Professor, Political Economy & Moral Science
portrait of Mary Rigdon


Myth Busting: Women, Competitiveness, and Equity

Sunday, March 12, 1 p.m.

Surround Stage

MARY'S TALK: Myth Busting: Women, Competitiveness, and Equity

Watch Mary's talk on YOUTUBE:


Despite what you think or have heard, there is no gender competitiveness gap. It's a myth that women are not as competitive as men. This generalization contributes to an unacceptable wage and opportunity gap. Just 8% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, yet that is a record high. The truth is men and women are equally competitive but motivated differently. Men excel in zero-sum environments and women in "we not me" roles where their success can benefit others. In today's global marketplace, consumers demand social responsibility and employees want flexibility. In this environment, women, motivated by service, possess a "competitiveness advantage." Rigdon's research makes a business and ethical case for greater inclusion, equity, and opportunity to place more women on boards and in C-­Suites.


Mary L. Rigdon is Director of Arizona's Center for the Philosophy of Freedom and Associate Professor in the Political Economy and Moral Science Department. She earned a Ph.D. (Economics) from the University of Arizona. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics, and Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan. Her gender competitiveness and wage gap research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Evolution and Human Behavior, and is in press at Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Rigdon has also published in the Economic Journal, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and Review of Behavioral Economics. 

Dr. Rigdon is a renowned scholar. She is an affiliate in the Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science at George Mason University, an affiliate in the Center for Population-Level Bioethics at Rutgers, and a research associate in the Center for Economic Behavior, Institutions & Design at Rutgers. Rigdon was program director at the National Science Foundation in the Decision, Risk, and Management Sciences program and a faculty member in the Center for Cognitive Science at Rutgers. Mary is a sought-after, internationally recognized expert on gender equity. She presented her research on women's competitiveness at LUMSA (Rome); was invited to present research on gender differences in wage negotiations at several universities; and lectured on gender differences in negotiations at Rutgers, George Mason, and Yale Universities. She has presented at the annual meetings of several international associations including the Economic Science Association.