The best boss is a 40-something woman: Asked about age and leadership, nearly 2000 respondents in a University of Iowa survey thought that women peak far earlier than men:

The research suggests that Americans expect women to reach their peak performance as leaders at age 43, four years before men’s perceived peak at age 47. They also believe women’s contributions at work start to decline at 59.7, compared to age 61.3 for men, according to the nationally representative online survey of 1,996 adults.

Respondents’ ages ranged from 18 to 92. To measure people’s views on the ideal age of male and female leaders, researchers asked at what age men and women make the best boss at work.

The perception that women reach their leadership peak earlier than men has mixed implications for women in the workforce, [sociologist Michael] Lovaglia said.

Young professional women could benefit by rising to leadership positions earlier in their careers than men. But older women could lose out on promotions later in life if they’re considered past their professional prime sooner than men.

"What this suggests is that women are under more pressure to get to the top fast," Lovaglia said. "Men have four additional years before people to expect them to reach their peak performance as leaders, but women have to prove themselves more quickly. The climb is steeper for them."

The survey did uncover a potential advantage for women. When asked how many years of experience a man or woman needs to be qualified to run a major company, respondents said women need 14.2 years – two years less than men who are expected to require 16.5 years of experience. One implication is that experience may be more important for a woman leader than for a man, although more research is needed for confirmation.

If at first you’re not elected….Despite the above, perhaps, many midlife women are finding that their first, unsuccessful Congressional runs have simply groomed them to win the second time around.  Women’s Enews notes the high-profile campaigns of Donna Edwards, who Newsmix highlighted last month; 58-year-old Linda Stender, and 59-year-old Mary Jo Kilroy (pictured), who’s currently setting fundraising records:

Edwards’ persistence is unusual for female candidates, who tend to shut down the campaign office and return to pre-race routines after losing political contests, according to Gilda Morales, a researcher at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey in New Brunswick. "Women kind of disappear after they lose," Morales said. 

In 2006, Linda Stender of New Jersey and Mary Jo Kilroy of Ohio ran against GOP incumbents, both of whom are retiring this year. Because Stender and Kilroy have already run, they enjoy the edge in name recognition, fundraising and experience. As of mid-July, Stender had $1.2 million in the bank, far more than the $81,000 reported by her GOP rival, state Sen. Leonard Lance. Kilroy also had $1.2 million on hand; her opponent, state Sen. Steve Stivers, had $880,000, according to CQ Politics, an online political journal.

You knew insomnia was good for something.  All those sleepless nights  we spend worrying — about our careers, our fitness plans, our parents — have at least one silver lining. New research suggests that all that "ruminating" is still mental gymnastics  that reduces the risk of dementia:

People who tend to overthink things might be protecting
themselves from Alzheimer’s, according to research presented Wednesday
at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease. A slew of
studies were presented at the meeting in Chicago that looked at how
certain lifestyle factors, like rumination, and family history may
affect a person’s risk for dementia. Among their findings:

Overthinking family and work troubles may be a good
thing when it comes to late-life brain health, according to Israeli
researchers. More than 9,000 men in midlife were asked to rate their
tendency for rumination on a scale from 1 (always forget) to 4 (usually
ruminate) when it comes to family and work difficulties. The scientists
followed up three decades later performing dementia assessments in
1,892 of the 2,606 men who had survived. Dementia prevalence was up to
40% less in men who said they ruminated about life’s matters more
often, compared with men who had the lowest ruminating scores.

Being married or living with a partner was associated
with a lower risk of dementia later in life, while remaining unmarried
was linked to double the risk of developing cognitive impairment, a
precursor to Alzheimer’s, according to researchers from Finland and
Sweden who examined 1,449 people participating in the Finnish
Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia study at midlife and
then again 21 years later. Divorced singles who remained alone had a
three-fold increase in cognitive decline.

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