By | Dr Pavan Soni | IIM-B Innovation Evangelist
Women are more creative than men. The biggest proof is that women pretty much create men, and quite literally so, for the power of creating a new life is bestowed only to women. Science has given enough evidence that female may not even need males to reproduce, which remains as the greatest creation of all times. So I don’t have to convince you that women have the power of genesis, which males often waste! Why is it then that we don’t hear about creations, and innovations from the females as often as about the male fraternity? Allow me to offer an explanation.
One has to admit that females get fewer opportunities to demonstrate their skills than males, in almost every field; and in domains where females get the opportunities, mostly their creations aren’t celebrated, for instance, in child rearing, or in managing a household. Women are ‘supposed’ to manage such things, and hence no marks for doing it flawlessly. But by the same logic, even a male is ‘supposed’ to be a bread-winner, then why fancy startups, technology and fat salaries? A successful marriage, a child that grows up to become a good citizen, and most importantly, the vitality that a larger family has, are any day more important than the technology tinkering on the margins that most males draw a sense of pride from! If given equal opportunities, I bet, women will excel in both creating, and managing. The argument begs the discussion that why at the first place women get fewer opportunities. I think there are further fundamental reasons for that.
Women are supposed to…
We have a very clear division of labor in our societies, and much comes from the nature. While a male can pretty much work throughout the working age, and even beyond, and yet become a father, a women can’t continue working and make ‘him’ a father. She has to take a maternity leave, a recovery period, get back to work, and still take care of the family. Left to a male, I am pretty confident that the family won’t be around for long! So the very responsibility of creating (read giving birth), and managing (read taking care of the family) leaves a women less exposed to opportunities that yield into measurable outcomes. More measurable are patents, salaries, promotions, and awards; and less measurable are nurturing, empathy, and sacrifice. Little doubt, males are more driven by immediate rewards, for their hunting mentality, whereas females can indeed defer gratification, the classic case being the long gestation period of childbirth. So when we look at success from a more worldly perspective, we aren’t really drawing a fair comparison.
My scant research on creativity suggests that there are the following attributes to being creative:
- Divergent thinking
I reckon, that in almost all the department, a woman beats a man, hands down. Let’s talk.
One of the core attributes of creativity is the ability to generate unique and useful ideas. Unique ideas come when one is exposed to diverse settings, variety of people and occasions, and more over, variance of perspectives. An all-men group is shown to be less fissile with ideas, than a mixed group with men and women.
On empathy, it is well known that women can understand the unstated, and equally true is that most buying decisions, even outside of household, are influenced heavily by women. Putting the two together, it becomes apparent that women can understand very well what other men and women seek, even before it is clear to the seekers. Novel insights come from seeing what other can’t, and knowing what other don’t.
On curiosity, think of gossips! Research reveals that gossips are not only good for women’s health, but also are source of new knowledge and imagination. Women want to know even from the most inscrutable, and while doing so can very easily connect the dots, along a convoluted path. Men, on the other hand, are expert troubleshooters, and can’t think complex enough.
Do I need to justify courage in women? I hope not. One needn’t look any further than the process of childbirth, in which a woman risks her own life. Anything men do which comes any close? Perhaps not.
Perseverance, again is required to take an idea to its logical conclusion, and women have an ability to stay with a problem, and a situation for longer than men. Here again women can overwhelm men, especially in maintaining long periods of patience. Think of taking care of naughty child, and a insensitive husband!
Hence, I think we need to celebrate womanhood in creativity, and offer them more opportunities, and take greater responsibilities.