Women often take more risks than men

Despite common beliefs suggesting otherwise, it has been demonstrated that women often take more risks than their male counterparts. Indeed, new research to be published in Current Directions in Psychological Science - a journal of the Association for Psychological Science - has shown the reality of what type of person is prone to taking chances is more complicated than first thought.

The study found that despite stereotypes, females sometimes take more risks than men and adolescents can be as cool-headed as any other demographic.

It was shown different groups are more likely to throw caution to the wind depending on circumstances, such as men are prone to talking financial gambles and women take social risks - including making a late career change or speaking up during a work meeting about an unpopular subject.

Bernd Figner of Columbia University and the University of Amsterdam, who co-wrote the paper with Elke Weber of Columbia University - which is situated in New York - said: "If you have more experience with a risky situation, you may perceive it as less risky."

Dr Susan Marchant-Haycox, a Chartered Psychologist, commented: "Now there is more equality in the workplace, women are competing with men on many levels - including risk-taking behaviour. However, it's the nature and perception of the risk which accounts for the sex differential.

"In general, research suggests that men still take greater financial risks than women. It's possible that when dominant women in the City do take risks, they are likely to be more calculated risks than men's because they have more to lose in terms of reputation, other job options and further sex bias.

"Career-oriented women are continually seeking ways of meeting new challenges and taking risks in the work environment because fewer opportunities are afforded to them on a corporate level. Therefore, research suggesting they are more prone than men to make late career changes is not surprising. 

"Change for them often brings advancement and success in other directions. For years, women have been fighting the battle of the sexes - from being told they have smaller brains and being less intelligence than men, to having hormones that play havoc with their emotions. They continue to fight back and are confident enough to take risks in order to gain recognition in a wider arena of work.

"The birth of the conceptive pill in the 1960s, gave them more sexual freedom, more life choices and greater expectations in job choice. Slowly they gradually advanced to positions of power - and risk-taking had a lot to do with this new-found confidence in self-belief of success."