A few years ago, a Merrill Lynch study found that "women make fewer investment mistakes than men and make them less often -- despite the fact that, on average, they tend to know less about investing and enjoy investing less than men."

Back then, I observed how everyone could learn from the mistakes that many women managed to avoid. But looking back, I'm now intrigued that when you look at some of the other numbers, men and women aren't as different as you might think when it comes to investing.

Narrow gaps
For example, 63% of men and 47% of women surveyed said that after once buying a stock without doing any research, they'd repeated their mistake on a later occasion. Sure, women seem more responsible here, but nearly half have nonetheless behaved impulsively. If asked whether we've bought stocks after doing too little research, I suspect that most of us would raise our hands.

After all, do most investors in biotechnology companies such as Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) or Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN) really understand them? I bet that many invest mainly because, say, Dendreon has drugs in development that target various cancers. Similarly, many investors in energy companies such as Valero (NYSE:VLO) or Total SA (NYSE:TOT) probably don't have a good grasp of the oil industry, nor the health and prospects of the companies in it.

Meanwhile, while 69% of men report enjoying investing, 55% of women do, too. Yes, more men are into the stock market, but so are the majority of the women surveyed. And when the survey divided investors into categories based on their general interest level, the splits among men and women were pretty close to each other

Staying on track
Finally, when it comes to motivation, a similar 88% of women and 78% of men are investing for a comfortable retirement. Fortunately, a little enlightenment can go a long way in retirement planning. If you're trying to boost your IRA balance, dividend-paying stocks such as PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), or Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) can help get the job done for men and women alike.

Gender stereotypes may exist in investing, but they should never stop you from doing everything you can to become a better investor.

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Intel, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Total SA are Motley Fool Income Investor picks. The Fool owns shares of Procter & Gamble. Try any of our investing newsletters free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.