This recent SMPY paper describes a group of mathematically gifted (top 1% ability) individuals who have been followed for 40 years. This is precisely the pool from which one would hope to draw STEM and technological leadership talent.
The figures show significant gender differences (~1000 men and 600 women in the study) in life and career preferences, which affect choices and outcomes even after ability is controlled for. (Click for larger versions.) According to the results, SMPY men are more concerned with money, prestige, success, creating/inventing something with impact, etc. SMPY women prefer time and work flexibility, want to give back to the community, and are less comfortable advocating unpopular ideas. Some of these asymmetries are at the 0.5 SD level or greater. Here are three survey items with a ~ 0.4 SD or more asymmetry:
# Society should invest in my ideas because they are more important than those of other people.I would guess that Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and leading technologists are typically about +2 SD on each of these items! One can directly estimate M/F ratios from these parameters ...
# Discomforting others does not deter me from stating the facts.
# Receiving criticism from others does not inhibit me from expressing my thoughts.
Life Paths and Accomplishments of Mathematically Precocious Males and Females Four Decades Later (Journal: Psychological Science)
David Lubinski, Camilla P. Benbow, and Harrison J. Kell
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Two cohorts of intellectually talented 13-year-olds were identified in the 1970s (1972–1974 and 1976–1978) as being in the top 1% of mathematical reasoning ability (1,037 males, 613 females). About four decades later, data on their careers, accomplishments, psychological well-being, families, and life preferences and priorities were collected. Their accomplishments far exceeded base-rate expectations: Across the two cohorts, 4.1% had earned tenure at a major research university, 2.3% were top executives at “name brand” or Fortune 500 companies, and 2.4% were attorneys at major firms or organizations; participants had published 85 books and 7,572 refereed articles, secured 681 patents, and amassed $358 million in grants. For both males and females, mathematical precocity early in life predicts later creative contributions and leadership in critical occupational roles. On average, males had incomes much greater than their spouses’, whereas females had incomes slightly lower than their spouses’. Salient sex differences that paralleled the differential career outcomes of the male and female participants were found in lifestyle preferences and priorities and in time allocation.