It is often argued that female researchers publish on average less than male researchers do, but male and female authored papers have an equal impact. In this paper we try to better understand this phenomenon by (i) comparing the share of male and female researchers within different productivity classes, and (ii) by comparing productivity whereas controlling for a series of relevant covariates. The study is based on a disambiguated Swedish author dataset, consisting of 47,000 researchers and their WoS-publications during the period of 2008-2011 with citations until 2015. As the analysis shows, in order to have impact quantity does make a difference for male and female researchers alike—but women are vastly underrepresented in the group of most productive researchers. We discuss and test several possible explanations of this finding, using a data on personal characteristics from several Swedish universities. Gender differences in age, authorship position, and academic rank do explain quite a part of the productivity differences.