There is a generally accepted view that women are more risk averse than men and that this holds them back in their career development.

I wonder though whether the truth is a little more complex . . .

By Joy Kent, Chwarae Teg Chief Executive. Follow on Twitter: @joy_chwaraeteg.

At a Grŵp event last year ( Eng. Group event ) Helen Humphreys talked about her career in McDonalds, rising from crew member to Vice President for Operations.

Key to this meteoric rise was her willingness to take chances along the way, for example, agreeing to run the IT department when she wasn’t an IT specialist.

This got the group I was with talking about the differences between men and women applying for jobs and how it’s generally accepted that women will want to be confident of being able to do almost everything in the job description while men will generally give it a go whether they have all the skills and abilities required or not.

As the conversation developed though, I started to wonder whether it’s true that men are risk takers and women risk avoiders in all areas of life?

I have no robust evidence to base this on but hear me out . . . maybe people are more likely to take risks in arenas they are brought up to feel are their natural domains and because of this, with men being earners first and carers second and women carers first and earners second, this means we are more willing to take risks in either home or work dependent on our gender.

This means we are more willing to take risks in either home or work dependent on our gender.

A lot of women I know might fit the stereotype of not feeling confident about going into a workplace situation where they aren’t 100% confident of what it will entail — but they’ll give motherhood a go regardless of knowing whether it’s for them or not — they’ll put their careers on hold to raise children and put their financial security into the hands of someone else — which seems really risky to me!

I’m not sure that most men I know would be as happy to take these kinds of risks so readily.