by Linda Kreger Silverman, Ph.D.
Director of the Institute for the Study of Advanced Development, and the Gifted Development Center, Denver, CO.
Unique perception and awareness
Global view - respect for all human beings
A greater capacity for empathy (concern for others, especially children; sensitivity and warmth)
Intense moral commitment (seeing injustice and doing something about it; willingness to stand up for one's beliefs)
Questioning, searching for truth
Creativity - the gifted woman as artist
Multipotentiality (having capabilities in many areas and domains of talent)
Ability to juggle many things at once
Similar to most women in concerns, but there is a qualitative difference in degree of commitment
Additional characteristics indicated by various writers and researchers.
Many gifted women:
Talk, read, count earlier than boys in early
childhood; have slightly higher preschool IQ scores
Hide abilities to "fit in"; deny or disparage their capacities; are unaware of their own giftedness
Move fluidly from one pursuit or interest to the next; have impatience toward non-gifted people; are self-critical, labeling themselves as "scattered"
May often be seen as threatening to men - and other women - in positions of authority
Are exceptionally open to psychic & spiritual experiences
Have high excitability, high energy level, emotional reactivity, high arousal of central nervous system
May experience pain at being different from "the way women are supposed to be" and from the hostility and abuse from others
May experience deep conflicts between needs for self-actualization and maintaining traditional relationships
May hold divergent values compared to mainstream culture
Strive for moral integrity, social reform & service, inner authenticity
May poorly internalize their achievements; deny and disparage their successes; attribute success to outside factors; feel like an impostor
Have a lowered sense of entitlement to make mistakes; identify easily with failure; thinking they are more likely to blame than others
Are socialized toward meeting others' needs as top priority, denying their own needs and interests
Have relentless curiosity and heightened creative drive; are more process-oriented than product-oriented
Have extraordinarily high standards; have low tolerance for mediocrity and frustration
Are achievement-oriented; interested in non-traditional careers and professions
Have an acute awareness of complexities and consequences; heightened responsivity to expectations of others
Have strong entelechy: (from Greek for "having a goal"): the need for self-determination, for self-actualization
Printed with Permission