How Women Create is the topic I’ve been developing research and presentations about – or more to the point – gender differences in how we think throughout our lifetimes, and how it might affect our creativity overall, day to day, and in certain environments.
I’ve been working on this topic for over a year, and I’ll likely stick with it. I find it fascinating. I want to know what are the innate differences? I purposely ignored the usual rationale for why women’s creative achievement in the world doesn’t equal men’s even though their creative ability tests as “a statistical dead heat.”
Access and funding may change in our lifetimes, but not if we don’t better understand ourselves and how we’re different from men. Once we know these differences are inherent – can we see them as strengths? can we mitigate their effects? can we present ourselves with more confidence in our innate value? will it change how we hold ourselves back?
I’m just back from CEE (Creative Expert Exchange) event in Buffalo, NY where I presented “How Women Create” to five small audiences. I got awesome feedback, interest and support. I begin to understand that this is important information. I began to see it enlighten both men and women about life choices and events that seemed inexplicable and hurtful before.
One of the big ideas that emerges from the research is the difference in 50 year old men and women. Women feel: “It’s my turn.” Men feel: “Time to slow down.”
At menopause (average age 51.5) women have the highest and steadiest level of testosterone they’ve had since puberty. They begin to feel much more confident. They have beginner’s minds, feel optimistic, and are much less likely to put up with bad relationships anymore. Divorces initiated by the wife go up to 65%. They also feel the tug of caring for others much less. They start businesses, begin to pursue creative paths more. Men, by contrast, have lower testosterone every year beginning at the age of 35, and so their estrogen to testosterone ratio is much higher in their 50’s. They become more nurturing and have “harvest mind.”
One man said “that explains why my wife left me after 25 years, after we raised a family together.”
A woman began crying and said that no one supports the hard decisions she had to make to be who she wanted to be now. She was 54.
My paper was accepted to the International Leadership Association’s upcoming academic conference. (It’s peer-reviewed!) So I’ll be headed to Monterrey to present this to a group who are convening to discuss women and leadership.
I’m very excited to be adding to the conversation.