Riffing on a New York Times article about women in business, The Scientist.com asks if female PIs run better labs. They marshal some evidence that women are more attuned to emotions and more prone to work collaboratively, but the verdict is mixed.
Talking about all women or all men is not particularly useful since lab workers usually have just one supervisor, and there’s no guarantee that person behaves like the majority of her or his gender.
There’s also the danger of positive stereotyping. Even if women get tagged with a complimentary reputation as good leaders, it is still condescending to treat female supervisors as predictably sensitive team players. The real victory for gender equality will be when a female researcher is treated as simply a PI, not a woman PI.