The CIA states that women make the best spies because of women’s intuition. Is this an outdated societal expectation or is this statement based on something more? In a recent article by Professional Security Magazine, Madiha Adil, a Self Defence Practitioner, discusses women’s intuition and how it aids women in potentially dangerous situations.
A recent survey by the U.K.’s YouGov revealed that the majority of women living in London feel unsafe during routine outings and circumstances compared to men. In fact, on all questions asked, women felt more vulnerable. In addition, 1 in 3 women also stated that they take ongoing measures to protect themselves against sexual assault.
Is women’s heightened concern and awareness of potential danger the reason why they seemingly have better instincts or intuition that men? Both women and men’s intuition is partly a result of the unconscious quick conclusions drawn from environmental cues and previous experiences and is felt for instance as, a gut reaction or the hair standing up on the back of one’s neck. Although women seem to be better equipped at identifying their feelings and bodily cues that tell them something is amiss, is this due to societal expectations that men should suppress their feelings and therefore intuition?
As it turns out, science indicates that women have greater brain activity in the areas that control memory and emotion which makes them more sensitive to subtle feelings. Women are generally better at reading body language and other nonverbal cues which also invites greater empathy. This may be genetically associated to maternal/survival instincts and the need for women to protect children and others. In addition, in dangerous situations women will often ‘tend and befriend’ rather than ‘fight or flight’ like the usual male response. It makes sense that women have to be more aware of subtle feelings and instinctual strategies as they are generally more vulnerable than men physically.
Women’s intuition is not just a social construct but rather a complex evolutionary advantage that is extremely useful for undercover espionage teams and agencies.