London, May 4: The hunger for power and the need to win is every bit as feminine as it is masculine, a study, showing oestrogen-- the female sex hormone-- is the ''fuel of power'' behind competitive women, says.
It concluded that oestrogen fuels feminine feelings of power, drive and competition in much the same way testosterone does in men.Researchers found that levels of oestrogen shot up in power-hungry women when they won and plummeted when they lost, while the opposite was true in women who appeared disinterested in domination, the Daily Telegraph reported. Steven Stanton of the University of Michigan, who conducted the study, said, ''The biology of dominance in women has been vastly under-researched. In women, oestrogen appears to be the critical hormone for power motivation. On top of that, it sets up very nice parallels with men and testosterone.'' ''Using a male model, the small body of existing research has struggled to link testosterone to dominance motivation and behaviour in women. However, oestrogen is very behaviourally potent and is actually a close hormonal relative to testosterone.'' Stanton, working under Oliver Schultheiss of Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen, studied if oestrogen or testosterone was affected when women, who were mostly in their 20s, competed in a one-on-one dominance contest.
He said they found that ''the higher the women were in oestrogen, the higher they were in the measure of power motivation.'' Winners of the contest showed even further increases in oestrogen after the contest, but only if they had a strong need for power.
''We have found that oestradiol (oestrogen), but not testosterone, and a nonconscious need for dominance are positively related in women,'' they concluded.
''This positive relationship is strongest in single women and women not taking oral contraceptives,'' they added.