Battle of the Sexes: Who Has the Better Leadership Skills?

Americans believe women have the right stuff to be political leaders. But is that true?  Today we will examine a new nationwide Pew Research Center Social and Demographic Trends survey.

When it comes to honesty and intelligence the public rates women superior to men. However, only 6% of respondents in this survey of 2,250 adults say that women make better political leaders than men. About one-in-five (21%) say men make the better leaders, while the vast majority — 69% — say men and women make equally good leaders.

Half of all adults surveyed believe that women are more honest than men, while just one-in-five say men are more honest. In this survey, respondents ranked honesty as the most important to leadership of any other traits measured in the survey.

The respondents second most important leadership trait is intelligence. Again, women outperform men: 38% of respondents say women are smarter than men, while just 14% say men are smarter, and the remainder say there’s no difference between the sexes.

Males and females tied in hard work and ambition and males came out ahead in decisiveness with 44% of respondents saying that men are more decisive and 33% saying women are. Decisiveness was the only area in which men came out ahead over the women.

Women won in the categories of being compassionate (80% say women; 5% say men); being outgoing (47% say women; 28% say men) and being creative (62% say women; 11% say men).

When considering job performance skills, women received higher marks than men in all of the measures tested: standing up for one’s principles in the face of political pressure; being able to work out compromises; keeping government honest; and representing the interests of “people like you.”

Despite all of those stats, only 6% of people believe that women generally make better political leaders than men. The survey did not ask any questions about Sen. Hillary Clinton or the 2008 presidential campaign. However, in answer to an open-ended question, Clinton and Barack Obama were each named by 13% of respondents as the political figure in the U.S. that they admire most. President Bush was the third most frequently mentioned figure, named by 7% of respondents.