Monthly Archives: August 2010

Glass Ceilings & Sticky Floors – Debunking Myths 01

It seems that men aren’t from Mars and women aren’t from Venus – they’ve just been brought up to act as if they are.

That’s the conclusion reached by Australian researcher Cordelia Fine, in her upcoming book ‘Delusions of Gender’.

The psychologist suggests that men aren’t biologically hard-wired to be better at parking, any more than women are naturally better communicators or good at multi-tasking.

Instead, she reckons that parents and teachers steer us towards gender-specific skills by encouraging certain behaviours as we grow up. While there may be slight variations in the brains of women and men, any differences in personality or skills is more likely to be down to nurture rather than nature.

The publisher says:

“This is a vehement attack on the latest pseudo-scientific claims about the differences between the sexes – with the scientific evidence to back it up. Sex discrimination is supposedly a distant memory. Yet popular books, magazines and even scientific articles increasingly defend inequalities by citing immutable biological differences between the male and female brain. Why are there so few women in science and engineering, so few men in the laundry room? Well, they say, it’s our brains. Drawing on the latest research in developmental psychology, neuroscience, and social psychology, “Delusions of Gender” rebuts these claims, showing how old myths, dressed up in new scientific finery, help perpetuate the status quo. Cordelia Fine reveals the mind’s remarkable plasticity, shows the substantial influence of culture on identity, and, ultimately, exposes just how much of what we consider ‘hardwired’ is actually malleable. This startling, original and witty book shows the surprising extent to which boys and girls, men and women are made – and not born.”

Dr Lise Eliot, of Chicago Medical School agrees. “Yes, boys and girls, men and women, are different. But most of those differences are far smaller than the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus stereotypes suggest. Every skill, attribute and personality trait is moulded by experience,” she told New Scientist.

“People ignore huge similarity between boys and girls and instead exaggerate wildly the tiny difference between them. It drives me wild,” said Professor Robert Plomin, of the Institute of Psychiatry, London.

About Cordelia Fine

Cordelia Fine is a Research Associate at Macquarie University, Australia, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Philosophy & Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She was called ‘A science writer to watch’ by Metro on publication of her previous book, A Mind of Its Own.

If something has been learned, this suggests that it can be unlearned – and that new attitudes and behaviours can also be developed. Maybe we aren’t as hard wired as we think, maybe there’s more scope for change than we usually assume.

What do you think? Please add a comment or express an opinion on this research.


The Energy Revolution

Lis Faenza is simply awesome. Author of the ‘Nemesis’ trilogy and the ‘Infidel’ series, as well as The Energy Bucket and various White Papers, hypnotherapist and mentor, with various degrees including two at Masters level, Lis also mentors CEO’s and managers on the importance of their personal health and energy to productivity.

I listened to Lis speak recently and had that great experience of having what I felt to be true validated, extended and turned into a real life case study.

In a nutshell, we need people to bring positive energy to work. All too often, we experience the opposite from our colleagues. What Lis showed us is that there is now solid research to show how each of us is affected by positive and negative attitudes and emotions in people around us, and even at a distance.

Our feelings create emotions, which we now know affect the state of our DNA, which affects our energy levels. This affects our feelings – and so it continues. DNA curls up and shuts down with negative emotions, and it’s contagious! Positive emotions have the opposite effect.

So all of us need to recognise the impact we are having on those in our teams, companies, families – and take responsibility for challenging negativity.

In one under-performing team, Lis carried out an ‘energy audit’ and ran some workshops about all of this, which clearly motivated them to decide to change – urgently. She helped them to create a new vision for the future. Then a month later she updated the energy audit, and, without having done anything more than create this positive vision, everything had changed!

Everyone had got excited about managing their own energy, they were literally bringing energy buckets into the office (with fruit, water etc), and decided to have a ‘bucket meeting’ once a month to discuss energy and strategies for keeping it positive. And the team became one of the top performing ones in the company.

Today’s Challenge:

So what are you doing about your own energy?

What can you do to help uncurl your DNA?

Is it time to step up and challenge the moaners and whingers that drag you down?

How about smiling instead of snarling at someone who upsets you?

What else can you do to help create an atmosphere where you are surrounded by positive energy?

If you can do this, watch productivity soar!

For more, check out Lis Faenza’s website -