The DNA of Gender Dynamics© Part 2 – Finding My Place in the New DNA Helix

By: Dr Pauline Crawford, International Speaker & Facilitator

Aged 21 setting out on my first career in Tourism, and enjoying the style of the 70's I joined a young expanding business full of men and women.
Aged 21 setting out on my first career in Tourism, and enjoying the style of the 70’s I joined a young expanding business full of men and women.

Let me provide a little personal perspective with regard to the forgoing first 40+ years of my life. I was a very fashion conscious female when it came to my own style. I was lucky to be a teenager in the 1960’s because a more causal and funky fashion sense came to the fore.  I created my own wardrobe for the reason that, as a young girl, I had learned the art and science of dressmaking. I could conceptualize an outfit simply by looking at a piece of fabric before I had ever sewn a stitch. I learned, among other things, that I was highly visually oriented.  I saw ideas as connected shapes. I could read maps and drove my car – according to my female friends – like a man. I could connect diverse pieces in my mind and create designs both on paper and verbally. I loved geometry and art and what I knew of Leonardo Da Vinci made him my role model. Yet, I was dissatisfied with my journey as a woman.

From the beginning – at least when I was in charge of deciding how I would dress – I always dressed to suit the occasion and my emotional make-up of the day. Sometimes I got it right but almost as often I didn’t. In those early years, getting it wrong made me feel somewhat frumpish and more than a little stupid even when I knew I was neither!

I learned much about myself during my formative years, not the smallest lesson of which was … dressing to look  feminine mother rather than as the woman I believed myself to be was very, very difficult. I wasn’t suited to soft fabrics that clung to me or frills that created a more sensuous and gentle profile.  I felt better in trousers (thanks goodness for jeans). I loved to wear pant suits, and bell-bottoms and many items trendy including mini-skirts. I especially loved the square shouldered jackets of the 80’s and structured garments that hung straight and simple. I liked bold colours and ‘chunky’ jewelry and seldom, if ever, ventured into the frilly; elaborate or tight fitting clothes with low cut necklines. As a business woman in the 90’s, I felt that fashion had finally caught up with ME rather than vice versa.

With the advent of large shoulder pads in women’s jackets and tops, I was told that I looked tough and somewhat intimidating although that was not who I was on the inside.  I was just being me. I presented seminars and programs to largely male corporate audiences and felt very much at home. Conversely, when I was at home with my husband and children, I felt estranged from my business driven persona.

As I gained credibility in the work environment, my physicality boosted my confidence when I realized the juxtaposition at work with men in the corporate world. I enjoyed the intellectual sparring, presenting my ideas to inspire business people to develop and improve themselves as I had done.  I felt the inner satisfaction of being able to stand mPauline Dom Photosy ground but was keenly aware that I was still very much in the developmental stage myself.

Today I continue to spend the greater part of my time humanizing and advancing my work in Gender Dynamics© and Gender-Intelligent Leadership©. It is my firm belief that the results that I have been able to codify is the legacy that I will one day leave to my family, to my friends and the world at large.

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The DNA of Gender Dynamics© Part 3 – Shapes, Sizes & Other Interesting Stuff!

By: Dr Pauline Crawford, International Speaker & Facilitator

Conference for Executive Women. 21st November 2007 BT Centre, LONDON
Conference for Executive Women.
21st November 2007
BT Centre, LONDON

As an Image Consultant in the 1990s, I first studied the various shapes and sizes as they related to the characteristics of the women coming to me for advice.  During this period of my life, I rapidly realized there was a range of female body types and that particular body types appeared to connect directly to certain personality traits and emotional inclinations. Simply stated, certain elements and/or functions seemed to be innately driven by a woman’s particular physicality. In other words, the REAL ME can be revealed in one’s own mirror. Short aside: definition of epiphany:  a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way.

My epiphany occurred when I realized the deep meaning of what is stated above. It opened my eyes and mind to something that had haunted me for more than half my life, and now it was set out right in front of me. I knew that my somewhat masculine mind-set was natural for me. I realized too that it did not … that it could not … overwrite or override my being a woman … my femaleness.  My body was not the curvaceous one I may have wanted at some point in my life, but that was alright because I really came to like one I had.  It explained to me my reluctance to accept the words like ‘feminine’ or ‘pretty’ or ‘sexy’ as adjectives into my personal dictionary. Going into my 40’s, I could accept the description of myself as ‘attractive’ or even ‘stunning’ but not ‘beautiful’ or ‘gorgeous’. I came to like what I saw in the mirror.  I knew how to dress my body and to see myself as attractive. This breakthrough released erroneous preconceptions and connected me to my realities. It was good to get to know and appreciate the woman I was.  I was a female through and through.

From this point on I began to observe everything around me on a daily basis. I even observed that men also showed a range of physicality types that ranged from very angular through straight to somewhat softer. Men are not curvy like women, but the nature of softer lines sends a gentle, quasi-feminine message.  This physicality range also appeared to align with what I saw in women, i.e. the more angular, straighter bone structure hosted a more masculine mode of thinking and behaving.  I structured my thoughts into a simple mind-map designating MEN by a box, and WO-MEN by a circular shape. This mind-map was the initial incarnation of what would eventually become the basis for Gender Dynamics©. I was able to create a visual format, a codified embodiment that enabled me to articulate that which I could see in front of me as a lens through which I observed men and women in all situations.

By 2007, in addressing many audiences of business women and men,  I recognized at this time that I was watching business and life merging as women transition from home into the workplace in greater numbers. My Gender Dynamics©  map also gave me a lens through which to see the changing nature of work and home environments, and of society at large. I learned too, as we moved into the new millennium, that a new wave was rolling across the landscape, changing everything in its path. The centuries old male designed and dominated corporate economy was being retooled and reshaped by revolutionary new forces – technology which was driving global interconnectivity and the mounting feminine influence being fueled by greater numbers of women entering the workplace! We now had women emerging not only as corporate leaders, but as entrepreneurial free thinkers creating new enterprises and entirely new ways of running and leading a business entity.

What impact can Gender Dynamics© create in today’s world?

Young businesswoman and young businessman side-by-side in starting position and determined to win. Concepts: competition; corporate race; power struggle; battle of the sexes.?
Is it a battle of the sexes? Or can we play a new game and both win?

Gender Dynamics© is an approach to communication that creates a natural blueprint for how men and women can understand each other with more clarity, engagement and healthy collaboration.. Whatever backgrounds, ages, cultures, ethnic groups and sexual orientation, men and women are influenced by natural gender attributes and defined by natural talents.  These inform key aspects of each person’s personality, presence and performance. Gender prejudices are put under pressure from well-established stereotypes and learned gender bias. These prejudices can block the growth of enterprises across the world. All natural gender factors plus our own experiences to date create our inter-gender communication, interactions and performance.

The new lens of Gender Dynamics© provides a real-world, real-time, understanding about our ‘male-female’ biological differences and much more; it assesses the impact those ‘born’ characteristics have on our natural behavior and communication styles and allows us to behave differently where necessary to the long established stereotypes that gender can engender!  Our gender biology is merely a starting point.  There is far more depth to the gender challenge and that is within each gender as we overlay onto the biological impact those traits that come from our natural internal preferences. These are named here as descriptive terms of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ appropriately.  These traits that can be observed and recognized in words, and actions which differentiate the patterns we display as men and women in every context, within each gender culture, and applied to social, domestic and business arenas.  The combination of our biological print and our internal preferences transcends other diversity factors such as age, culture, ethnicity, disability and sexuality. As more and more women enter the business arena and especially the entrepreneurial and SME markets, the influence of these more complex Gender Dynamics© become more apparent. Becoming gender intelligent with our choices in business and in life is key to a more collaborative and sustainable future..

In creating a new perspective for business today, an employer whether male or female, must take into account the importance that gender and diversity take in creating his/her workforce and in understanding the changing consumer base business he/she is facing in a constantly evolving world. It is critical to recognize, value and leverage what men and women bring to the growth and sustainability of the workplace today.  Clarification of this subject adds enormous natural power to how men and women meet, discuss and create conversations that matter.

The ultimate goal is that people better understand their unique contribution as a man or a woman and bring that to the business environment.  It is said that in today’s business world, 95% of what men and women ‘do’ is the same. We all use technology the same, mobile communication the same, we connect with knowledge in the same way, we all drive cars, go to work, travel the same, eat the same, learn the same business skills – yet the 5% that makes men and women perform in different ways often makes the critical difference in how circumstances and situations, relationships and success happens. It is in that 5% that the critical emotional reactions take place, where minute to minute reactive responses change the path that person takes.  It is in that 5% differential, we can expand our possibilities of working together, men and women bringing a new working practice and better results. This is when we start to appreciate it is not the players that are stuck, there is no glass ceiling, however there is a traditional male playing field that needs re-framing so we don’t get stuck in the past.

Of course all of this new gender intelligent- “gender dynamics” -perspective can bring a new harmonic to life itself and impact our most intimate relationships within familial and social communities as well as business. Everybody is connected through their gender cultures, male and female, and together become inter-connected in daily existence. Please join me on this journey of discovery and add your views and perspectives, experiences and learning from connecting and relating to your own and members of the opposite gender. Let’s set our intention to create a better future together. Thank you.

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The DNA of Gender Dynamics© Part 1 – A Journey of Discovery

By: Dr Pauline Crawford, International Speaker & Facilitator

20140621_122848Here I am today in the summer of 2015, aged 66, looking back to help you understand my story – a journey of discovery – about who we are as different types of women and men and how much more we can each do to understand each other.

When I was in my late thirties I became aware of something that had been growing in the periphery of my consciousness for some time. I had been gaining an awareness of something that was so powerful and far-reaching that I would spend the next 20+ years researching, defining and cataloguing my results.

During the late 1980’s; I was a devoted mother and an efficient wife as well as a successful business woman. As I continued in those roles, I grew to become a self-confident, authentic woman … a mature self-assured female who knew unequivocally who and what she was. As a very young girl, however, it was a far different story.

In my early years  although I liked playing dress-up, I was not overly keen to be the frilly little princess, and do those girly things many of my girlfriends did. That’s not to say that I never did such things, only that there were other things I enjoyed equally and was naturally good at such as climbing trees and riding bikes and taking part in the kinds things that my brothers liked to do. As grew into my teenage years, I struggled to gain the assurance of being a ‘young lady’.

I remember daydreaming of being a young sailor on one of the romantic tall ships of earlier centuries … climbing up the rigging to furl the sails or to take them in during an approaching storm. In the jargon of the day, I would have been considered very much a “tom-boy.”

The maturing process was, admittedly, a little confusing for a while as I tried to work through exactly who I was and what I might be like as an adult. The one thing I knew intuitively, however, was that I was not cut out to be a femme fatale … that just wasn’t me!

Such meandering thoughts of ‘wondering why’ would reoccur on occasion as I continued my life’s journey and as my knowledge of myself continued to grow and expand. The one question I struggled over time was, “Are we born with the characteristics that give shape and form to the little boys or the little girls we all have grown from, and do the essentials change radically over time?”

Let me tell you what I know today and let me state for the record that I know these things because I have learned them by the careful application of scientific methodology and much reflection and observation during my research. For this process, I have been the Experimental Group and my findings have been validate by filtering them through the results generated by the Control Group which consisted of observing and hundreds if not thousands of people, men and women who have been family, friends and clients.

One of the first principles of life is that of observation. Remember when your mum or dad told you to “Look both ways before crossing the street” … and that’s only the tip of the iceberg, as they boys_and_girlssay. I know that I was born with my boyish physicality and a more left-brained mind-set. I know because my passions were always driving intuitively throughout my childhood and early development. I always got on talking with boys quite easily as friends whereas my girlfriends saw every boy as a prospective boyfriend. Don’t misunderstand. I was and am as female as my sister and my girlfriends. I developed my share of infatuations along the way, but I knew that I was seeing inter-gender interaction differently even then. Putting it simply, I was looking at boys and girls and their expectations through a different lens … the lens of purposeful observation.

It would please me no end to say that whatever gender based issues we may be dealing with at this point in time, they are largely inconsequential because men and women communicate clearly with one another and each enjoys a functional understanding of what motivates the opposite sex. As I continue down the particular road of discovery I began to travel a few decades ago,  I am both unwilling and unable to dismiss the compelling and growing body of hard evidence that says “That is just not the case.”