Women Outperform Men Under Stress

Who make better property investors – women or men?women vs men gender male female business pay gap work competition

Up till now the answer may have depended on who you asked (or what gender they were) but neuroscientists have uncovered evidence suggesting that, when the pressure is on, women bring unique strengths to decision making  and make less-risky decisions under high-stress situations.

Quoting separate neuroscience studies conducted at the University of Southern California and Duke University,  the New York Times explained:

“Under low stress situations, men and women make decisions about equally well [but] men took more risks when they were stressed.
They became more focused on big wins, even when they were costly and less likely.”decision

In other words, when everything’s going smoothly, women and men are even as far as decision-making goes.

However, when things get dicey, men tend to play the long shots while women tend to think things through.

And according to Inc. that’s a huge competitive advantage in the business world and, well, pretty much everywhere else, too.

Here’s what they say:

“The reason women make better decisions under stress isn’t that women are “nicer” or “more collaborative” or any of that crunchy-granola BS.

It’s because women’s brains handle the stress hormone cortisol better than men’s brains handle it.

According to the neurobiologist Ruud van den Bos, men under stress experience a huge spike in cortisol, which degrades their decision-making ability.  

Every pundit and analyst in the business world has repeatedly pointed out that today’s business world is continually getting more stressful.

Women experience a smaller spike, which creates urgency but doesn’t impede decision-making.

The more stressful things get, the better that women (on average) will become at making decision than men (on average).

My brothers, let me net it out for you. When the going gets tough, she gets smarter and you get dumber.

And since disruptive innovation means the going is always getting tougher, if you’re not hiring and promoting women, you’re only proving how dumb you are.”

Maybe this is also a good reason to have more women on our property investment team, in our businesses and in government.

We can’t make the big jobs in government or business any less stressful, but we can ensure that when the pressure rises, there’s a better balance between taking big risks and making real progress.

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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who create wealth for their clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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