Attitudes Towards Risk-Taking
The results of the interviews that I conducted on 150 students, who were 50% female and 50% male students, clearly revealed that male and female students vary in their tendency to take a risk.,. The male students indicated a greater likelihood of making risky decisions and engaging in risky activities while the female students reportedly demonstrated risk aversion personality. Croson (2012) notes that men and women are psychologically different and this is the main reason the society assigns them different roles. As children grow, they develop either masculine or feminine features. Most often, risk-taking behavior is associated with the masculine character while aversion and fear are linked with the feminine character.
Gambling is one of the risk-taking activity that most young people engage in especially in the developed economies. From the interview, 75% of the male participants showed interest in gambling while only 25% of the female participants showed interest. In fact, most male participants confirmed that they played poker and casino games. According to Croson (2012), other than being inspired by the payoff, most young men are excited about gambling because they consider it a competitive social activity. Moreover, it was evident from the interview that female participants are unassertive in taking part in competitions. It was also clear that male students participate in tournaments more often than female students. The female students are more likely to choose stable social and economic activities regardless of their abilities rather than competitions.
One of the reasons why women are more risk averse compared to men is due to the effects of the stereotypes and gender beliefs held in the traditional societies. According to Croson (2012), the strong traditional beliefs and stereotypes held by the society greatly influence the risk-aversion behavior among the women. While men risk-taking behavior tends to increase when they are stresses up, women risk-taking behavior tends to decline even when they are experiencing stressful moments. Men’s brain computes risk differently from those of women and as a result acts differently. Another reason why women are more likely to be risk-averse is that they often have lower income than men regardless of the education level. The risk-averse character among the female reflects the struggles of lower income and higher expenditure among the women.
The emotional aspects also play a big role in the gender difference in perception to risk. For instance, women judge situations with a lot of caution compared to men. They more often believe that negative outcome is more likely to occur than the positive income. As a result, women are likely to avoid situations with the likelihood of adverse outcome than men. Croson (2012) also observes that a varying estimate of the level of enjoyment obtained from engaging in risky behavior or activity also determines the gender difference in propensity to engage in risky behavior. Compared to women, men believe that they would get greater benefits as a result of engaging in risky activities whether social or economic. Risky decision-making is in economic terms considered a trade-off between hope for higher returns and fear. As a result of fear, women are more risk averse while men pursue risky decisions with the hope of getting higher returns.
Manhood versus Safety
For the last couple of years, man has been able to manipulate the environment around him more than ever before. The most noticeable technological progress and advances have been witnessed over this period. However, Manson (2009) observes that despite the technological progress, man seems to have forgotten about himself. As a result of little knowledge about himself, man has encountered adverse experiences. The potential to transform the environment around him gives a man the power to destroy or create. In fact, through a single act man can transform his destiny and that of a whole society. Similarly, through a single act, man can ruin himself, or destroy the lives of millions of others in the society. The world is at a point of social and technological interdependence where actions of one person can have huge impacts on the whole society, which are incontrollable. The decisions made at individual level could have far-reaching and infinite impacts on others in the society, and in the world at large.
Although mankind can manipulate technology and the environment around him, he cannot keep on teaching the coming generations the use of untested methods inherited from the previous generations. Sacrificing safety at the expense of manhood is one of those behaviors that have to be controlled with urgency. Safety is a common problem among men as most of the men act as if taking care of their lives is an indication of cowardice. The safety versus manhood problem affects men of all ages and at all times. . It is the reason men are causing accidents in planes, cars, and boats every day (Mason, 2009). Young men consider proving manhood important than their safety and as a result, show little concern for their safety. Men are excited about proving themselves through competitions, and the result encounters more accidents than women. In the case studies demonstrated, the common problem in the accidents may be viewed as misplaced courage or safety versus manhood, depending on the reader’s perception. For example, the act of a group of twelve-year-old boys daring each other to climb an electric power line may be considered immaturity and lack of judgment. Emphasis of code of manhood has altered as civilizations became more complex and counter-culture movement became a norm. If people cease to acknowledge that men built modern civilization, and if men choose not to contribute to society, then the question, “Must it continue to be safety versus manhood?’ may be difficult to answer.
Evidently, young men seek manhood lessons from the wrong people and places. There is no formal training in schools for this noble course. Instead, young men learn how to become real men from battles fought many years ago. There are many informal ways of learning how to be a man. Most often, young men follow things their forefathers did or those they wished to do. Another informal source of the lessons includes the TV and radio heroes. These are responsible for shaping the behavior of growing men. Movie heroes also largely affect the way young men behave forgetting that movies are writer’s version of imaginations and story interestingly created. Moreover, bibliographies written about some heroes influence the young men to grow to be like them. There is a tendency of young men reading about how certain men, who lived extreme lives in the society, handled their lives. As Manson (2009) observes, the young men read these bibliographies and copy what these heroes said, without much consideration
It is this informal training that fundamentally makes men to even break common sense in their pursuit of manhood and status. It is this kind of training that causes a man to pursue risky decisions. The informal training was responsible for the split personality among the men pilots, the cause of refusal by soldiers to wear protective head-gear when going for war, and other deadly pursuits. According to Mason (2009), men fail to take precautions in virtually all the activities. The trend is the same whether they are playing football, hockey or doing boxing. In the private aircraft, the operators rarely wear the parachute or hard hat even when flying over rough territories. In the airlines also, men seem not to recognize or admit the chances of accidents occurring. The reason for not admitting the problem is that passengers may think that the accident is likely to occur. As a result, most airlines hide the passengers’ survival information that is very crucial.
From my point of view, although politicians are elected to represent the people who elect them, they are also victims of safety versus manhood. From the article, although thousands of men were killed in railroad accidents and coal mines, whether to provide the workers with safety equipment or not was the decision of the factory owners. Politicians did not bother to legislate on the minimum safety precautions to be taken by factories until in 1911 when the fire occurred in a shirt company in New Jersey. Due to inadequate fire exits, seventy-nine souls succumbed to flames. The American people united in anger and compassions and ultimately action needed to be taken to avoid the occurrence of a similar incidence. The Congress passed the safety legislation that became the foundation of all the safety legislations enjoyed today in the US. Later, it turned out that the Congress and the entire country was so compassionate because the victims of the fire tragedy were all women.
In summary, although men have to pursue their goals vigorously, they must recognize that every action has a bearing on the welfare and lives of others. Mason (2009) notes that, any irresponsible behavior is destructive to a person, his city, the nation, and by extension to the entire world. As a result, every man needs to be his brother’s keeper. Men need to reexamine their masculinity goals taking into account the value of other people’s lives. Safety conferences are ideal for training men to highly regard human life. Moreover, industrial flight and safety formal courses are inevitable to train men the importance of leading safe lives. Safety education in schools is also inevitable to teach young growing men the value of their lives. Educators should consider incorporating safety courses in the curriculum to get rid of informal manhood training that growing young men inherit from the previous generations. The safety courses should be taught right from the tertiary level through high school so that by the time young men are preparing to join college, they have high regard for their future and the lives of those around them.
Arguably, since schools may not take safety education with the seriousness it deserves, it is crucial for human capital managers to recognize this problem in organizations. Companies can organize training sessions to address this problem threating the future of young men. To ensure that the training is successful in transforming men, human resource managers can define real men as those who perform their jobs safely. Another approach is to condemn daring and demonstrating that those men who disregard safety precautions have no regard for their lives and future. Moreover, managers have a responsibility of emphasizing the execution of the safety standards policy within the organization. Employees have to be made to adhere to safety practices at all times. This way, organizations can succeed in teaching men wiser and different ways to use their precious lives
Croson, R. T. A. (2012). Special issue: Gender differences in risk aversion and competition. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Mason, D. Chaytor. (2009).Manhood Versus Safety. Book Excerpt retrieved from: http://www.marvgolden.com/downloads/dl/file/id/105/aviation_safety_more_than_common_sense_book_excerpt.pdf