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Is Creativity Gender Neutral

What is creativity? Creativity is the process to make something unique and useful, and the successful result of this process is innovation.’*

Research shows that women and men are born with equivalent creative potential. It also shows that both creative underachievers and successful innovators are shaped by their environments!

Research also finds that creativity itself is more strongly associated with characteristics that are viewed as being more ‘masculine’ in nature such as risk-taking, adventurousness, and self-reliance.

This could mean at times that a man’s work and achievements are evaluated as more creative than similar work and achievements produced by women.  

Devon Proudfoot (no relation) recently conducted a research study where he analyzed the adjectives applied to the one-hundred most viewed online TED talks. The data that the researchers were most interested in was the percentage of viewers that applied the adjective ‘ingenious’ to a talk, since it was the adjective most closely aligned with creativity.

‘Overall, a higher percentage of viewers selected the word “ingenious” to describe the talks that had been given by male speakers.

One explanation for these results is that men and women differed in the kinds of topics they spoke about. To examine this possibility, the researchers analyzed the data again within each of TED.com’s six most popular topics: technology, entertainment, design, business, science, and global issues. Looking at the data in this way showed that the bias towards describing men’s talks as ‘ingenious’ remained for all topics except for one: design’.** (Daisy Grewal, Scientific American)

The resulting biased perception on gender and creativity is largely based on prevailing stereotypes that have their roots deep in our history, culture, and attitudes.

To celebrate International Women’s Day we encourage everyone to remember that we are all creative souls, regardless of our gender!!!

*excerpt of the Chapter 7 of the book, The Creativity Challenge: How We Can Recapture American Innovation

**excerpt from an article written by Daisy Grewal for Scientific American The Community (BITC)


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