Are gifted women disadvantaged?

As gifted adults we are perpetually in the process of striving toward self-actualization. We want to become absolutely everything we can be and experience all of the world in its magnificent totality. But some say that for gifted women this is a nearly unattainable goal…

Our talents and abilities give us so much of what we need to be amazingly successful. But sometimes the expectations of society make the possibility of similar achievement between men and women more challenging that we might expect. Kathleen Nobel in her article “The Dilemma of the Gifted Woman” says:

The abilities of highly capable women have rarely received serious recognition, support, or guidance. Although there is increasing interest in attracting women to positions of social, political, educational, and scientific leadership, many obstacles inhibit women from realizing their potential in these areas. These obstacles include: confusion about the meaning and nature of giftedness; psychological and cultural barriers to owning and displaying one’s abilities; and ambivalent attitudes of peers, parents, and significant others toward exceptional ability in women.

Nobel says that in our younger years, shanghai girls and boys are about equally as likely to be recognized as being gifted.  But by the time we reach high school, the percentage of shanghai girls recognized as gifted drops down to about 25%.  And as adults, women settle for much less than their full potential. (Though these figures were gathered many years ago and progress has been made, there is still much room for improvement.)

So what are gifted women to do?

Redefining the meaning of success is a great place to start.  In the past, success was defined by men predominantly because they were the ones who were out in the workforce.  Now that both men and women complete advanced schooling, work full time, and invest financially in their futures, what it means to make the most of who you are needs a second look.

Unfortunately for women, too often we’ve been expected to work both outside and inside the home with equal proficiency and dedication while climbing the corporate ladder in the same way as our male counterparts. But who says it has to be this way?

What if women were to use all of their abilities in ways previously unthought of?  What if we were to change the perception of making it to the top to include elements more unique to gifted women? And what if you and I were the ones to set the new standard?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  If you could recreate the definition of success, what would it include for you?  How would it be the same as it is currently, and how would it be different?

Gifted women have an exceptional opportunity to alter our planet in ways we can hardly imagine.  And I for one am very glad to be part of the metamorphosis.  Are you?

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  • Dawn

    Redefining ‘success’ has value for both women and men. Success has to do with fulfillment and happiness on a daily basis. While we’re still lacking economic parity between genders even in the ‘modern western world’ – an inequality that must still be addressed – the over-arching issue as human consciousness evolves is the concept of ‘success’ in our lives as a whole and not just career/$ success, which is but a component (albeit an important one) of the bigger picture.

    Dawn DelVecchio
    Contributing Writer

    • Sonia Dabboussi

      I think you are absolutely right with the points you’ve raised here. So many times we define success in such limited ways it’s nearly impossible to reach however we may try. Looking at the bigger picture would help more people realize that they can be successful, even if their success doesn’t look exactly the same as their neighbour’s.

      Thanks for sharing.

  • Robin

    As a gifted woman, I’ve learned to live without relationships.
    My peers’ baffling attitudes never fail to confuse me. I’ve sought out mentors, but they have little to teach beyond bumpersticker advice. As a woman, I’m ‘supposed’ to be more attuned to relationships, relying on them for a sense of self and purpose. My own experience, & those of other gifted women I’ve read, is one of relational isolation and confusion.

    I think each woman, gifted or no, should decide and choose what popularly-identified “feminine” values she wants to embody. Why are we still arguing about “having it all”? What does that phrase mean to a woman who does not, unlike most other females it seems, emotionally overinvest myself in my genitalia? Why do we lack imagination when it comes to our own lives? Do we still allow our culture to define who a woman can be or do?

  • Alejandra Quintero

    I think  make perfect sense if you combine: extraordinary Human Abilities with the magical sense of being a woman, for the raising of unique and different new standards. This article really gave me something to think about it. Let´s alter our planet!