Yes, it’s yet more proof that “playing like a girl” should be a mark of pride According to a study Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel in lovingly titled “Choking Under Pressure and Gender”, found that women may have an advantage over their male peers in tense, winner-take-all competitive situations.
“Our research showed that men consistently choke under competitive pressure,” reads the report. “But with regard to women, the results are mixed.” It goes on to say that, yes, women do lose a bit of their ability at crucial moments, “it is still 50 percent less than men.”
Now, this isn’t an across-the-board phenomenon. Specifically, the study looked at thousands of Grand Slam tennis matches to make its findings. Tennis has that rare quality in the world of sport of being a one-on-one contest of skill and nerve. Boxing, fencing, and other martial arts fall into that same bracket. It may be that it’s only in these contests that the sexes differ in their tendency to choke under pressure.
Even the researchers involved say, “tennis players may have different preferences and characteristics that may not necessarily make them a representative subject.” That is to say, the findings would be hard to impossible to translate to sports where women take on men or, perhaps even more crucially, how the sexes fair against each other in the workplace.
Nonetheless, the author struck an optimistic tone about the study’s findings. “The fact that we have uncovered such robust evidence that women can respond better than men to competitive pressure calls for further investigation in other real-life tournament settings.” Indeed, it does.