Women who work in STEM tend to approach their role differently than their male counterparts. They’re often more collaborative, they problem solve in unique ways and are typically more supportive and wholistic in their approach.
Naturally, women experience and interact with the world differently, and that can impact the way they bring value to the table. It’s what makes these women so sought after, and it’s probably why so many of them end up in the top 10% of their respective fields.
It’s been proven quite beneficial for companies to help women in STEM to be successful by being inclusive and inviting them to participate in meetings, interviews and important decisions. By helping teams understand that women are different than men evidence shows teams grow stronger, more c onesie and accomplish more with diverse input from all members.
How Women Approach Decisions
Research shows that women and men act differently when faced with a decision, with women being more deliberative and open to more perspectives than men. To find out what’s behind this difference in behavior, we need to look at the evolution of our species.
Women’s brains are wired for empathy and therefore women tend to be more open to other people’s points of view, a trait that comes from the way their brains are wired. Women’s brains are structured differently than men’s, which means they tend to use both hemispheres when making decisions. This isn’t the case with men, who primarily use the left hemisphere for decision-making. The right hemisphere of women’s brains is better connected to their limbic system, which is responsible for processing emotions. This makes women more empathetic and aware of other people’s feelings.
What this means in practice is that women may spend more time analyzing the pros and cons of a decision before theymake a choice, but once they make that choice, it’s more likely to be the right one. Men are more likely to make a quick decision and stick to it, no matter the situation.
In science this is an important trait. On average women are better at reading emotions than their man counterparts. While men may be more likely to make a quick decision, women are better at reading others and communicating their own emotions. This is because women’s brains contain more gray matter than men’s brains, which is responsible for processing emotion and sensory information. Women also have larger amygdalas, which means they’re better able to process fear, anger, and other emotions than men.
The net result (without resorting to stereotypes) is that women bring different skills, unique talents and often more sensitive insights to STEM than men. Therefore the best scientific teams mix and match people from different backgrounds, disciplines and genders to get the most robust problem-solving skills.
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