The comparison of sex in social behavior is an important factor in the determination of social behaviors that are depicted by individuals. An example of the bias associated with gender is the assumption concerning risk-taking behavior, where the genders are assumed to have different perceptions about risk.
This issue is a major factor because the perception of risk among different sexes is inherently different. This paper discusses the common perception that the female gender is more risk averse than the male gender and draws the conclusion on whether this assumption is true or just a perception.
The distribution of socioeconomic status across gender is influenced by the perception that the society has of the different genders. This view is supported by research conducted by Falaschetti (2005), who proposes that, since historical times, the female gender has been relatively marginalized in risk-taking behavior. This proposition is supported by research conducted on female and male individuals in political offices.
According to the author, the prevalence of risk-taking behavior is emphasized according to gender difference. This means that the male gender is assumed to have a higher tendency to engage in risky political behavior than the female gender.
The assumption that the female gender is more passive than the male gender in political office is a problem that indicates the perceptions of the society regarding the input of the female role in political offices. This assumption leads to the perception that female political office-holders are passive in their work; therefore, they should not be assigned to high-risk work.
According to Pawlowski and Atwal (2008), the inherent assumption that females are less likely to engage in risky behavior than males is born out of sexual selection theory. The researchers discuss this assumption by focusing on two major factors, the acts of catching a bus and the act of crossing a busy road. According to the authors, the two acts mentioned above bring out the risk-taking behavior differences between the genders.
In contrast to a female individual, a male individual will likely traverse a busy stretch of a road at a time when the risk of an accident is high. Conversely, the female individual will most likely wait for a less risky opportunity to cross a busy road, a difference that indicates the risk-taking strategies of the two genders.
Another illustration of this fact comes from the act of catching a bus; the male individual will likely pursue a riskier strategy than the female individual by arriving at the bus stop at just the time when the bus is ready to leave.
Conversely, the female individual will likely arrive at the bus stop before the bus is ready to leave, so as not to face the chance of missing the bus. These two strategies indicate that the female population is more risk averse than the male population.
Research conducted by Harris and Jenkins (2006) indicates that, in real life, women will always take fewer risks than men, perhaps because of the perceived likelihood of the negative outcomes in the risky behavior being undertaken.
These three instances of research all report the perception that women are risk averse in comparison to the female gender, a fact that leads to methodological problems in gender comparisons done in social work. As a result, the assumptions that researchers have about the differences between gender perceptions to risk might affect the results of studies being conducted.
Falaschetti, D. (2005). Sex Differences in Risk-Taking? Evidence from Female Representation in Legislatures. Journal of Economic Literature. Vol. 25(6). Pp. 1-47.
Harris, C., and Jenkins, M. (2006). Gender Differences in Risk Assessment: Why do Women Take Fewer Risks than Men? Judgment and Decision Making. Vol. 1(1). Pp. 48–63.
Pawlowski, B., and Atwal, R. (2008). Sex Differences in Everyday Risk-Taking Behavior in Humans Evolutionary Psychology. Vol. 6(1). Pp. 29-42.