The points made should not surprise anyone. I don't want to call it gender bias as it is not directly applicable in this instance. Historically it plays a substantial role in women being recalcitrant to share view points with others. I worked in the fire service industry before women were even allowed to step in the doors.
In todays fire service we are no longer called firemen, but firefighters. Yes there are those last bastions of male dominated firefighters but for the most women are becoming widely accepted. One of the most difficult areas for assimilation of women into the fire service was breaking that fear they had to voice opinions, ask questions and share knowledge and wisdom.
It is a cultural thing which is slowly disappearing, and and there are those who would say I am all wet. Sit in a staff meeting and watch the dynamics, a women can make very valid points which are not recognized, a male counterpart makes the same point and it is a great idea. When one becomes aware of this it is very hard to ignore. Much like getting tuned into obesity in our society, hard to ignore from that point forward.
How do you embrace and encourage the voice of women on this forum? The best solutions will come from women. The woman's clinic put on at Mahoe is a great start. My wife and I were present for the first couple of days and my observation from a distance was a very different dynamic, (way too much laughter and fun), being present than the mixed gender camp.
Coach Helenita and I had a conversation about skill levels of those attending the all woman vs mixed gender clinic and the self evaluation of ones ability. Coach said she was surprised by the lowered expectations of the women vs the true ability. I found this to be almost universally the case when working with women. They will have a tendency to vastly underestimate their ability or potential while men are on the opposite end of the scale. The bigger difference being men will not accept they have overestimated while women are willing to acknowledge.
The all woman's clinic is one means. There needs to be an emphasis put to the attendees how important it is they step forward and participate after they leave. Peer connection and pressure, build that confidence and let participants know the importance of sharing their experiences with others.
Have you thought about putting on some all woman's weekend workshops.
These may help break the patterns you put forth. When doing such clinics, their purpose needs to be explained. Ask why the participant chose a single gender vs mixed. Stress how they can help after leaving and follow through on suggestions.
Again I say you will get the best answers from women.
Swim Silent and Be Well
Last edited by westyswoods : 01-31-2011 at 03:31 PM.