The general perception, which has been backed by various studies, is that women, compared to their male counterparts, are less willing to take risks. But wait a minute, a recent study conducted by the University of Massachusetts-Boston, has strongly disputed this, claiming all the previous reports contained gross exaggerations. The conclusion, according to Julie Nelson, the lead researcher, is that women are not more risk averse than men as asserted. In reaching this conclusion, the research analyzed a myriad of economic and finance publications on the differences that exist between men and women. The focus in this case was on publications relating to gambling habits.
Criticism of the existing research
A number of holes were punched on the existing studies especially on the lack of prior research to highlight the similarities that exists between men and women. Particularly Nelson takes exception on how the research was conducted by having artificial gambling sessions and then analyzing the gambling habits of the participants. One major researcher who has conducted prior studies on these behavioral differences concurred with Nelson’s findings. Kimmo Erickson, a renowned Swedish researcher, admitted that his 2010 paper on the same topic had generalized the findings by showing that women are more risk-averse and this is particularly common in most situations.
Importance of this research
According to Julie, it is these assertions that have perpetuated the outstanding gender stereotypes on women being risk-averse. The major drawback of such an assertion is that they further exacerbate the cultural biases that have reigned for ages both in the society and within the workplace. The errors in previous research, according to experts, can have huge impact on the way the society generalizes gender-based issues. An example given on this is the latest financial crisis in 2008 where commentators were quoted as saying that it could not have happened had it been women at the helm.
Via – DailyMail