The Rare ISTP Female

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“It’s no use trying to intimidate me…I have no sense of fear.”
– Yulia Tymoshenko, Prime Minister of Ukraine and rumored ISTP

For the ISTP female, life can feel a little bit like falling down an unfamiliar rabbit hole. ISTP girls are often seen as “tomboyish” or “unusual” and pressured to fit into a more stereotypical nurturing role. Many ISTP women feel like fish out of water throughout their day-to-day lives and are not recognized for their unique strengths and contributions.

ISTP women comprise only 2.3% of the population. They are known for their private nature, their deep analytical abilities, and their quick wits.  The ISTP woman has an incredible number of strengths, but also some struggles that they have to deal with in a world that expects women to fit a more traditional feeling role.

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The ISTP Female and Isolation

ISTP female

ISTPs are known for being reserved and pragmatic. They make decisions based on impersonal analysis rather than worrying about value-laden or emotion-driven criteria. This characteristic alone tends to set ISTP females apart from the majority of other women. 75.5% of women in the U.S. are feeling types, which means that the majority of women are going to make decisions based on personal values and/or the harmony of others. While there’s nothing wrong with this preference, it leaves thinking females feeling isolated or misunderstood in their surroundings.

Historically speaking, there are very few ISTP women spoken of in history or in books. The ISTP woman or young girl may feel that there are very few literary females or role models that she can identify with. Many ISTPs are identified as “handymen”, and more traditional types may see the ISTP’s interests as “unladylike”. Countless ISTP women have felt pushed and prodded into a role that conforms to a more traditional feeling role.

The young ISTP girl will probably favor climbing trees over throwing tea parties, she will more likely spend her allowance on books or roller blades than dolls or nail polish. While these interests should be met with joy, many parents feel they must continue to coerce these girls to enjoy more classically “feminine” pursuits. ISTPs who are accepted and recognized for their strengths can be nearly unstoppable in their gifts, skills, and abilities.

“I’ve always felt like a failure because I can’t process emotions like my other friends do. When I finally discovered I was an ISTP I felt such a sense of relief in knowing I was just a normal ISTP, and nothing was wrong with me.”
– Kathy, an ISTP

“Draining” the Inferior Function

ISTPs can strategically use their feeling preference (Extraverted Feeling is their inferior function) however, they don’t enjoy dwelling on their own emotions for long and they prefer to make decisions based on logical analysis over values. Having to take in an excess of emotional stimulation from others can be frustrating and draining for the ISTP. Surrounded by more typical feeling females, the ISTP woman may feel overburdened by having to continually depend on her inferior function to navigate the emotional waters of her friends. Long term, the ISTP can experience stress and overwhelm as a result of heavy leaning on Fe. That said, many ISTP females enjoy relationships with feeling types as long as their friends are open-minded and don’t push them to conform to their own preferences.

Many ISTP females I’ve spoken with prefer to spend time with their male friends, where they have a much greater chance of meeting a like-minded soul. 41.7% of the male U.S. population are ST types, and it can be refreshing for the ISTP to enjoy the companionship of people who process information and make a decision in a similar way.

ISTP Female Career Field Struggles

ISTP women are often drawn to technical career fields and enjoy jobs that provide tangible rewards and physical hands-on opportunities. I found this article online that says, “But by breaking from societal norms, they find themselves in direct competition with their male colleagues. It is sad that when an ISTP woman excels at work, so far removed from traditional roles, it becomes major news, whether it is a women who gets a court order to become a municipal firefighter or a sports reporter who finds herself in a locker-room dispute. Such over-dramatization, while perhaps encouraging to other ISTP women, tends to make the individual the exception instead of the norm for a considered section of the population. Furthermore, with the media involved, sides tend to be taken immediately – men versus women — and the real occupational desire and the potential contribution of the ISTP gets lost in the process.”

ISTP women that I’ve spoken with have excelled in numerous career fields; I’ve met entrepreneurs, artists, surgeons, and auto mechanics. Many said they had to jump through several hurdles to be accepted in more male-dominated environments.

The Strengths of the ISTP Woman

ISTP females have a lot of unique gifts to offer the world. It’s really a shame they make up such a small percentage of the population because we could use more women with their strengths!

#1 – ISTPs are Excellent Troubleshooters

You’ll rarely find an ISTP woman waiting for someone else to come along and solve a problem. They are independent and excellent at getting to the root of an issue. They tend to keep a steady head in a crisis and focus on logical analysis and quick, dependable resolutions.

“Being thrown into the deep end is the best way to do something.”
– Anna Kendrick, a rumored ISTP

#2 – ISTPs are Physically Adept

Not all ISTPs are athletes or warriors, but many of them have great physical coordination and awareness. Dario Nardi, a UCLA professor who has done studies on the neuroscience of different personality types, has said that ISTPs are the most adept of all the personality types at integrating visual-kinesthetic data. Nardi says that they use brain regions that give them sharp object identification skills and motor skills such as aim.  The ISTP female is often able to perform “handyman” tasks without much trouble and has a certain grace and coordination that makes her excel in athletics, art, dance, or in medical or technical career fields.

#3 – ISTPs Are Non-Judgmental

While ISTPs may not seem especially warm or exuberant to everyone, they can actually be very open-minded friends. They like to take their time before making judgments and they prefer to “live and let live.” You’ll rarely see an ISTP gossiping about someone or talking badly behind someone’s back.

#4 – ISTPs Have a Logical Focus

ISTPs lead with a mental process called Introverted Thinking (Ti). They are quick to understand logical principles and enjoy expanding their knowledge base and organizing and classifying an internal library of solutions and facts. If you want an unbiased, logical perspective on a decision, the ISTP is the one to go to.

“A bit of logical thinking gets me through something particularly hard…Then I recover very quickly. I’m not a ‘dweller.”
– Emily Blunt, a rumored ISTP

#5 – ISTPs Are Realistic and Down-to-Earth

The ISTP female is an extreme realist. She takes what is and makes the most of it, often seeing opportunities where others don’t. The ISTP is aware of what’s needed in the moment, what makes the most practical sense, and how to invest her energy wisely.  This down-to-earth realism is often matched with a witty, clever sense of humor.

“I think my head’s on pretty straight, and I’m pretty realistic about things.”
– Scarlett Johansson, a rumored ISTP


In Conclusion…

ISTP women may have a tough road to travel to reach understanding and acceptance from their peers and families. However, with their own self-acceptance and confidence, they can be much-needed forces for improvement in the world. Their quick-wits, their logical thinking abilities, their realistic focus and overall resourcefulness make them intriguing and impressive individuals.

Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type or The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

Sources (Book links are affiliate links):

The Art of SpeedReading People: How to Size People Up and Speak Their Language
Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type
Neuroscience of Personality: Brain Savvy Insights for All Types of People
Nurture by Nature: Understand Your Child’s Personality Type – And Become a Better Parent

Get an in-depth look at the strengths and struggles of the rare #ISTP woman!

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  1. Another ISTP female here! Fun fact: I’ve taken various Myers & Briggs tests over the last 10 yrs of my life (I’m 28 and took it for the first time freshman yr in college), and I have never failed to get an ISTP result!! Pretty cool and shows you how accurate it is. Anyways….this fits me to a T. I am independent to a fault almost, and would rather hike/travel/camp etc. alone. I graduated in an Engineering discipline, get bored easy, hate reading theoretical books, was a legos kid, etc. I am on the hunt for a new career path and even the type of place an ISTP would thrive in (currently live in socal and I don’t think this is it!! haaa). Oh did I mention I get bored easy? 😛 KEEP ON KEEPIN ON ISTP FEMALES!!

    1. Hi, me too : female ISTP
      Not the easiest personality for a woman, right?
      Im 52 and I would love to know all this at your age. take advantage of it, we ISTP are awesome when we do what we want. so try to find out what is it that you want, passion or mission, and practice it. We are quick learners and you are young. That is the key to the best of you, mostly as ISTP, do that that will keep you interested
      keep me posted, I dont know any other ISTP that Im aware of. Read also the general comment I left. Good luck,

    2. I’ve only taken it twice, once in 2013 and once today, and got the same result, too. The two engineers I know trash talk mechanics all of the time but it’s rewarding to take things apart, clean them, and put them back together. Maybe a more hands-on kind of job? I also loved legos as kid. Still love them, though, because my kid loves them too. 🙂

  2. Hi, me too : female ISTP
    not the easiest personality for a woman, it gets harder with age and the communication problems are real.
    we are not good future planners, but future arrives sooner than expected and nothing’s ready.
    Im still very popular, but often I struggle with others and very few people get me. this confidence they talk about is often seen mostly by other women as arrogance.
    im permanentely judged and everybody has an opinion about my personality and WE dont like being told what to do, right??
    Very important, other ISTP say the get bored easily. I never get bored, NEVER. Yes, I quickly loose interest in things im not passionate about, at work for instance. But im never bored, I always have so many things to do, feel, hear. read, observe, think, fix….and I dont need anybody to entertain me, so Im never bored.
    So again, not the easiest path for a woman’s life, but, no doubt, a very interesting one!

    1. I also never get bored. Ever. But I thought it was because I had an Uncle who told me as a kid that boredom is the product of an undisciplined mind, and that interesting people never get bored. So I endeavored to stay occupied, always. It worked, far as manufacturing a habit.

      1. Thank you for making that statement. I “stopped” being “bored” at a very young age. I personally believe that the word in itself is dirty or taboo. “Only in ignorance will one find boredom”. – Me
        “It’s truly a wonder thing, when one can engage and flourish in the company of ones own self.”
        I do sometimes wish/long for, the day I may stumble into someone similar to me. To not have to elaborate on every subject or matter at hand. Time/energy spent in responding to someone inquiries, just for it to be disregarded and forgotten. * a girl can dream*

        See? Never bored. There’s always a topic/rant to embrace and extinguish.

        Final note: ISTP females use too many commas. I have to force myself to use periods.
        Seriously, watch yourself some time, go back and count em’.

  3. Awesome that I wandered into this website and read the other posts by some of the other 2.5% female population ISTPs! I always knew I was “different” then my peers growing up but never drove into the information and learned exactly that meant until recently. I am 32 years old and I live in southern California. Thank you for posting. Feel a rush of relief that maybe some other girls out there can have each other to talk to if needed!

  4. Female ISTP

    I’ve been frustrated trying to take classes lately for accounting or business. Stable “normal” office jobs that would get me where i needed to go, right? I hate it with a passion. Its not that I CANT do it, i just find myself waking up every day dreading my boring future. I don’t want an office job and have this craving for making things, but realistically those dreams will never make enough of an income to live.

    I am relieved the reason for this passion is simply because of the personality I was born with, but gosh I don’t think I can live with a job that’s so under stimulating. Unfortunately as a 5 foot female I can’t do certain jobs that involve brute strength.

    You can tell i’m getting desperate because i’m posting on some random website to equally random strangers, but maybe some advice from any ISTP women who went through the struggle of searching for a career that fits you?

    Thank you

    1. I am still looking for that career myself. It’s frustrating as I am 5ft too. There’s nothing touch we can do. I was going to become a police officer but having mental health problems this has become a ba arrier. So I’m not sure what I could do. I look forward to replies. I would say become a fitness trainer if that suits you

  5. ISTP female here, learning about my personality has helped a lot. Was voted “most independent” in high school. Tomboy all my life. Always struggle with relationships as I can unwittingly be insensitive. I am a medical director at a humane society and a veterinary surgeon. Love the hands on daily problem solving! No day is the same. However I struggle as a manager because I have little patience for inefficiency and can unintentionally be insensitive. I had always suspected that people had a hard time with me because I was “acting like a man.” Now I get that that’s partially true.

  6. Its a real struggle for us ISTP ladies. And, I only just started to learn why my family, friends and almost everyone I meet thinks I’m weird. I love computers always wanted to work with them. Never had luck holding down a job because I get bore with it sooo easily, if I find it or even people uninteresting I just move on. I am often thought of as being insensitive and cold. trust me , none of this is intentional I just get frustrated when I have to process too much emotions or small talk. I just want to see results. I dont care who you are if you cant complete a task efficiently, in my book you are a loser. There I go again with the insensitivity. I absolutely love my personality type though. Learning more about it has helped me to accept myself more fully. I will not try to change who I am to please anyone. Never been something that I favored, and never will. Keep rocking ISTP FEMALES!!!!

  7. Another ISTP female here and an engineer by profession. I don’t have many female friends. I’ve always thought it’s because I’m in a male dominated career field. But actually I find it stressful to always be watching what I say around women and i subconsciously distance myself. It’s also hard for a single ISTP woman, when your male friends’ wives/girlfriends don’t always appreciate when a single woman is hanging out with their men.

  8. Sometimes I feel that the ISTP female gets overly labeled as a stereotypical tomboy. As an ISTP female, I am a lower elementary school teacher, the favorite teacher in fact because of the love for fun and creativity, not a fireman or a sports writer. I an an introvert but I live for fun and laughter with those I am closest too. I also enjoy pranks, mischief, and comedy.

  9. Interesting to read all the comments. I’m from the UK and in my forties. So recently did my first personality test at a new job(tests are not common here). I was dreading it, I knew people would find out that I’m different! I was a tomboy that joined the military as an engineer which was a great fit, but when I left to become a mum and took part time office jobs to make ends meet I learnt that I had to ‘fake it’ to fit in with the female environment. I wonder if many of you have to do the same.

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