What's the secret to succeeding in today's economy? Female brainpower, according to a recent study by Credit Suisse's research arm. Tracking the performance of 2,400 businesses worldwide since 2005, the report shows that shares of companies whose boards include at least one woman are outperforming those of companies with all-male boards by 26%. The trend took hold in 2008, leading researchers to suggest that these companies are succeeding because women are perhaps risk averse. We couldn't find any board members who agree. "I'm less likely to shoot from the hip, but not to take a warranted risk," says Deb Riemann, who sits on the board at Corning. "I've heard that stuntmen are the most careful planners. It's one thing to take a risk, and another to take it blindly."
A version of this article appeared in the November 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.