Men and Women: Connecting Dots Differently

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013

What is business missing when it only has male decision makers on its board? Is it repeating the same-o, same-o and failing to see how to adjust to market trends? Could adding women bring new solutions to the brain storming sessions?

A study at the University of Pennsylvania of over 1000 male and female brains confirms how we process information differently — males stay fixed within the left or right lobes, while females link back and forth between lobes.

“…Male brains are structured to facilitate connectivity between perception and coordinated action, whereas female brains are designed to facilitate communication between analytical and intuitive processing modes…”

In other words, men are focused on the task-at-hand while women are making connections linking tasks with other outcomes and solutions. It’s all good.  Full Study here.

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 8.07.10 AM

Before you shoot the messenger, this isn’t about how one sex is better than the other, but rather to highlight gender specific patterns. Once you see the patterns you can appreciate and harness the best of both gender worlds.

For example back in 2006 a study by Resource Interactive and comSource Networks tracked 326,000 online purchases over a year. It tracked how 50 men and 50 women surfed sites, and interviewed 1000 more online participants. They found that men liked in-depth details and specifications and women preferred context in how the item will be used — men took notes and women liked to visualize things.

Is it any wonder that Pinterest took off as a site fueled by women? We thrive when we SEE things and are inspired to build on those ideas.

What does this mean for sustainable practices?

Put the above information into context of what is included in a Life Cycle Assessment for products or services. An LCA includes extraction of raw materials, human rights, transportation, customer use, and the recycling or safe disposal — all along this path the impact of people, air, earth, atmosphere, and water are weighed. That’s a very big picture that takes cross-linked ideas and sectors before you can understand the model. It makes sense why some breakthrough sustainable practice ideas are being framed by women such as Annie Leonard with her Story of Stuff sustainable education site, or Janine Benyus the originator of BiomimicryDoes anyone want to shelve their ideas for being too big? Anyone?

Meanwhile, the green mom bloggers  have been at the forefront voice of driving green practices in our homes and communities. They champion climate change anti-fracking initiatives, promote green consumer products, and social activism  again and again and again…  Perhaps women volunteer their efforts more than men because they see the impact of the big picture more than the guys and feel morally responsible to do something.

What do you think? Have you connected any good dots recently – left, right, or across?


  1. So it would seem that a company to sell its sustainability story to the decision makers—women—that they make their story more visual. (Infographics, storyboards,videos, etc.)

  2. Agreed Anna, and to not dismiss the brainstorming thought patterns that women use to process information.

  3. You are right Anna, that must it is as you have said…

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