woman brain

There have been a few posts on the net this week about women entrepreneurs prompted from a New York Times article ‘Out of the Loop in Silicon Valley’ (Why So Few Women in Silicon Valley) by Claire Cain Miller which spoke about a woman Candace Fleming who failed to raise investment in Silicon Valley for her company Crimson Hexagon.  Another post tried for a more positive take on women in technology ‘Stop talking, start coding’ by Hilary Mason.   Reading these brought me back to wondering about whether women are smarter than men although generally this is the material of jokes & innuendo from both sides of the camp. In Sep 2008 I remember commenting on a post on American Express Forum ‘Plan B for Fund Raising’ by  Guy Kawasaki.  Unfortunately American Express in their wisdom falsely calls it a forum because they have deleted all the comments now (& there were a tonne of them).  So my comment has disappeared but suffice to say I was outraged that men entrepreneurs would burn through cash as he mentions particularly when it is so….hard for women to even get the investment, we would tend to be focused on bringing in revenue rather than burning cash????? So this brings me back to the question are women smarter than men because that’s how it looks to me.   I found a great post ’10 Big Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Brains’ By Amber Hensley in which she breaks the differences down:

  • Women tend to communicate more effectively than men, focusing on how to create a solution that works for the group, talking through issues, and utilizes non-verbal cues such as tone, emotion, and empathy whereas men tend to be more task-oriented, less talkative, and more isolated. Men have a more difficult time understanding emotions that are not explicitly verbalized, while women tend to intuit emotions and emotional cues.
  • Men tend to process better in the left hemisphere of the brain while women tend to process equally well between the two hemispheres. This difference explains why men are generally stronger with left-brain activities and approach problem-solving from a task-oriented perspective while women typically solve problems more creatively and are more aware of feelings while communicating.
  • An area of the brain called the inferior-parietal lobule (IPL) is typically significantly larger in men, especially on the left side, than in women. This section of the brain is thought to control mental mathematical ability, and probably explains why men frequently perform higher in mathematical tasks than do women.
  • Men tend to have a “fight or flight” response to stress situations while women seem to approach these situations with a “tend and befriend” strategy.The hormone oxytocin is released during stress in everyone. However, estrogen tends to enhance oxytocin resulting in calming and nurturing feelings whereas testosterone, which men produce in high levels during stress, reduces the effects of oxytocin.
  • Two sections of the brain responsible for language were found to be larger in women than in men, indicating one reason that women typically excel in language-based subjects and in language-associated thinking. Additionally, men typically only process language in their dominant hemisphere, whereas women process language in both hemispheres.
  • Women typically have a larger deep limbic system than men, which allows them to be more in touch with their feelings and better able to express them, which promotes bonding with others.
  • Typically, men’s brains are 11-12% bigger than women’s brains.Men need more neurons to control their greater muscle mass and larger body size, thus generally have a larger brain.
  • The area of the brain that is activated during pain is the amygdala, and researchers have discovered that in men, the right amygdala is activated and in women, the left amygdala is activated. The right amygdala has more connections with areas of the brain that control external functions while the right amygdala has more connections with internal functions. This difference probably explains why women perceive pain more intensely than do men.
  • Women have a thicker parietal region of the brain, which hinders the ability to mentally rotate objects–an aspect of spatial ability.
  • Men are more apt to have dyslexia or other language problems. If women have dyslexia, they are more likely to compensate for it. Women, on the other hand, are more susceptible to mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. While handedness is not a disorder, these brain tendencies also explain why more men are left-handed than are women. Men are also more likely to be diagnosed with autism, ADHD, and Tourette’s Syndrome.

There is also some really interesting basic information about the differences between male & female brains Male-Female Brain Differences it is reported that a woman’s brain has a larger corpus collusum, which means women can transfer data between the right and left hemisphere faster than men. Men tend to be more left brained, while women have greater access to both sides. for men, language is most often just in the dominant hemisphere (usually the left side), but a larger number of women seem to be able to use both sides for language. So it appears that women are smarter in a more holistic way than men, no wonder we are so good in business.  It also explains why there is so much material available about how men are smarter than women where obviously there is a focus on one piece of the research material on the comparison of our brains???

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About the author

Pemo Theodore is a Media Publisher & Event Producer. She is Executive Producer of Smart Money Silicon Valley: Network with & Learn from Silicon Valley Investors! & NoPanels: Engage Directly with Investors & Industry Leaders; VCHangout: hangout with Investors! & PitchPerfect Silicon Valley: Craft your Pitch for Funding! She video interviews venture capitalists & angel investors EZebis: Winning the Venture Game! She is based in Silicon Valley & has been involved in online business for 10 years. She has been in small business for 39 years in Ireland, London, Canada & Australia. She also published a free ebook (the findings of 1 year research with vcs, angels & women founders) "Why are Women Funded Less than Men? a crowdsourced conversation" available on Scribd.

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