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Why women have the upper hand in the workplace

Kaitlin Madden, CareerBuilder Writer

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Ask any married couple which spouse remembers family birthdays, when the car is due for an oil change and the name of that great restaurant they went to last week, and chances are both will say it's the wife who serves as the pair's memory.  

While many a wife may chalk this up to their husband's laziness, remembering detailed information may just be one of the many things that women are naturally better at than men, at least according to a new book called "Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt that Women are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else," by Dan (yep, he's a guy) Abrams, a legal analyst for NBC News and columnist for Men's Health magazine.

In his book, Abrams provides hundreds of studies and statistics to back up his claims that women best men in a lot of areas. Some -- like memory -- were already suspected, while others -- like driving -- were more surprising considering the common view is to the contrary.

Yet perhaps some of the most surprising statistics in the book were those applicable to career. As the book's title mentions, studies show that women actually make better cops, hedge fund managers and world leaders, but also newscasters and doctors. Here's the proof, according to Abrams' research.

1. Police officers: A 2004 study on police brutality and corruption conducted at the University of Maribor in Slovenia found that female police officers were less tolerant of immoral behavior than their male counterparts. Additionally, out of the $66.3 million that Los Angeles had to pay in settlements for police-brutality lawsuits, nearly 96 percent were due to the actions of male officers.

2. Hedge fund managers: Yes, according to data appearing in Institutional Investor magazine, an international finance publication, women are the MVPs of this boys' club. The study, conducted by Hedge Fund Research, a firm that provides analysis on the industry, found that from January 2000 through May 2009, female hedge fund managers "produced average annualized returns of 9 percent, versus 5.82 percent for the men."

3. World leaders: The results of a survey on essential leadership skills conducted by the Pew Research Center overwhelmingly favored women. In the survey, 2,250 participants "ranked men or women as superior in eight different categories of political aptitude deemed 'very important or absolutely essential' to leadership.'" The results? Women came out on top in five of the eight categories, and tied men in two.

4. Newscasters: A 2008 study in Switzerland, in which subjects watched real newscasts and then filled out questionnaires on what they'd seen showed that people perceived the news as more credible when it was read by a woman. That may have something to do with the fact that women now account for 64 percent of newscasters in Switzerland. In the U.S, more than 50 percent of newscasters are now women, compared to just 13 percent thirty years ago.

5. Doctors: A 2010 study by the American Medical Association found that male doctors were twice as likely to be sued as female doctors. Another study on medical performance by the British government found that out of all the doctors and dentists investigated for medical misconduct, only 20 percent of those required to go through a more thorough investigation were women.

One last thing that bodes well for women in the workforce? They also make better students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, for every 100 men than graduate college, 185 women do. According to The National Survey of Student Engagement, a study conducted in 2005, this is due to the fact that women are less likely to skip class and turn in assignments late than men are, and they're also less likely to drop out.

Kaitlin Madden is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow @CareerBuilder on Twitter.



Last Updated: 24/05/2011 - 10:28 AM


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