It struck me this week when I continued to reflect on discovering or rediscovering our creativity at a later stage in life that women are in fact the embodiment of creativity. Our bodies have been designed to materialise the ultimate form of creativity, namely to nurture and produce new life. How can we therefore say we are not creative?
If creativity is defined as the ability to create something unique and original then guess what, as women we are creativity personified! Yet, many of us spend an inordinate amount of time and energy denying our own creativity and ability to produce something new and unique. However, history is peppered with examples of women who have produced unique and creative inventions that have benefitted society at large.
Without jumping on my soapbox to argue that we live in a man’s world, created by men for men, we are socialized from a very early age to focus our attention on being pretty, nice, good girls. As we grow in to women, we respond to the subtle messages that suggest women are the weaker and inferior sex and we fail to claim the same expectations set for men in terms of achievement.
Creativity is a highly sought after commodity in business as it is the lifeblood of an organization. Creative and innovative thinking is highly rewarded. There is also ample evidence to suggest that creativity is more likely to be associated with men than women. The result is that women will have less professional opportunities than men in an environment where creativity is highly prized.
Turning to science, research states that boys and girls are born with an equal amount of creative potential. In the UK a well-known television programme, Horizon, recently debated the controversial suggestion that men and women’s brains are different. The findings were inconclusive with evidence to support both arguments.
However, what is important is our perceptions and how these will result in our view of reality, dictating our behaviour. Societal values and norms expect us as women to put the needs of others before our own and if we don’t, we will eventually feel guilty and selfish for devoting time to develop our own creativity at the expensive of nurturing others.
At some stage of our development we are inspired by role models and supported by mentors, if we are lucky. Yet, there are fewer female role models for us to aspire to than the male role models available to boys. Instead, the media whose image of women is that of pretty, skinny supermodels constantly bombard women of all ages to conform to their expectation of what women should be and look like.
Young girls and women growing up need female role models and mentors to help them to discover their own worth and creativity. Those of us that have reached a certain age owe it to the younger generation to express and own our own creativity. In doing so, it will give us the courage to act as mentors and role models to younger women who need the support and encouragement on their own journey to discover their creativity.
My challenge therefore to all women out there and particular those, who like me have more time to nurture and express their own brand of creativity, we owe it to the younger women growing up now. Claim your creativity and be an inspirational role model that girls and younger women can aspire to.
I once again remind you that age is no barrier to creativity!