Why only women?

There is one question that I get asked all the time…

Why only women?

(clarify; why I choose to facilitate and write for a female audience) 

My first response is why not, I love it? But of course that is not enough and then I must give my reasons. And I’d also like to express that there is often a sub-texted present of “Who gave you permission to only serve women?”

See, I never ask that stuff about men – so why are women always faced with this covert disapproval around developing their leadership skills together?

And the Risk Taker in me wants to also challenge their judgment of my creativity and my purpose in life! However, I bring it down a notch and activate my emotional intelligence and give them my sound reasons why.

We have come along way, but we still have some way to go before we experience our full power as a species. I continuously encourage women to correct and transform the old behavior that women have become a custom to. An old behavior, which I believe all stems from one thing CONTROL. 

Women have played out these unhealthy scenarios for centuries; they served a need to control others, their environment, and situations in order to maintain their status or popular position in a family or social group. I share this message over and over – that women did it to survive, but they don’t have to do it anymore.

And why don’t they?

Because they are free, the women who came before us fought for that freedom and now it is time to live it.

And from another point of view, in many indigenous cultures all over the planet men and women were or are seen as totally equal, yet they also have initiations, ceremonies, and rituals that are experienced separately. And on completion of these events, they joyfully come together as a community to celebrate their newfound transformation.

Here is my “WHY” around the importance of learning female leadership with other women – Some issues must be faced woman to woman.

  • Women really do want to break free from the habitual patterns of women comparing and competing with each other for position or status.
  • Women as a community feel they deserve to feel safe enough, to share and address the obstacles women often face as an influencer in business and community.
  • Women recognize they need each other when committing to dissolving the “Women Behaving Badly” syndrome (control) so they can move toward conscious evolution and self-empowerment.
  • Women know that gathering in full support of one another has a natural amplification of self-love and sisterly-love that occurs, and through that amplification, they learn to know themselves and trust themselves in their role as an influencer.

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Building a TRUST and TRUTH culture between women is the key element in creating true UNITY and LONGEVITY in leadership.

Trust is the authentic feeling you have in the presence of a person whom your body senses are safe.

This good feeling stimulates oxytocin.

When trust is not authentic, your body might give you a message to be careful around that person.

Given the opportunity, women can grow a stronger social and spiritual fabric; and build an effective social change network of female leaders that can create a valuable shift toward true transformation in our communities and our world, for everyone!

OXYTOCIN – is a key component to WHY women benefit from connecting with other women when developing leadership skills. 

Researchers at UCLA have identified a broad biological and behavioural pattern that explains a key method used by women to cope with stress and at the same time highlights one of the most basic differences between men’s and women’s behavior.

This pattern, referred to by UCLA principal investigator Shelley E. Taylor as “tend and befriend,” shows that females of many species, including humans, respond to stressful conditions by protecting and nurturing their young (the “tend” response), and by seeking social contact and support from others – especially other females (the “befriend” response).

This “tend-and-befriend” pattern is a sharp contrast to the “fight-or-flight” behavior that has long been considered the principal method for coping with stress by both men and women.

“For decades, psychological research maintained that both men and women rely on fight or flight to cope with stress – meaning that when confronted by stress, individuals either react with aggressive behavior, such as verbal conflict and more drastic actions, or withdraw from the stressful situation,” said Taylor.

“We found that men often react to stress with a fight-or-flight response,” Taylor said, “but women are more likely to manage their stress with a tend-and-befriend response by nurturing their children or seeking social contact, especially with other women.”

The UCLA study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the Psychological Review of the American Psychological Association, based its findings on analysis of hundreds of biological and behavioral studies of response to stress by thousands of humans and animal subjects.

“The tend-and-befriend method of coping with stress seems to be characteristic of females in many species,” Taylor said.

Just as the fight-or-flight response is based on biological changes that occur in response to stress, the UCLA researchers propose that the tend-and-befriend pattern may have a biological basis. In particular, there search team points to the hormone oxytocin as playing a large role in the tend-and-befriend response, in conjunction with sex hormones and the body’s natural opioid system.

“Oxytocin has been studied largely for its role in childbirth, but it is also secreted in both men and women as a response to stress, “she said. “Animals and people with high levels of oxytocin are calmer, more relaxed, more social and less anxious. In several animal species, oxytocin leads to maternal behavior and to affiliation.

“Men secrete oxytocin too, but the effects of oxytocin seem to be reduced by male hormones, so oxytocin may have reduced effects on men’s physiology and behavior under stress. Oxytocin, along with other stress hormones, may play a key factor in reducing females’ response to stress.”

The UCLA study also found that women are far more likely than men to “befriend” in response to stress – seeking social contact when they are feeling stressed, with befriending methods ranging from talking on the phone with relatives or friends, to such simple social contacts as asking for directions when lost.

“This difference in seeking social support during stressful periods is the principal way men and women differ in their response to stress, and one of the most basic differences in men’s and women’s behavior,” Taylor said.

The different ways that men and women respond to stress may also help researchers understand why men are more vulnerable to the adverse health effects of stress, according to Taylor.

“Men are more likely than women to respond to stressful experiences by developing certain stress-related disorders, including hypertension, aggressive behavior, or abuse of alcohol or hard drugs,” Taylor said.” Because the tend-and-befriend regulatory system may, in some ways, protect women against stress, this bio behavioral pattern may provide insights into why women live an average of seven and a half years longer than men.”

“The tend-and-befriend pattern exhibited by women probably evolved through natural selection,” Taylor said. “Thousands of generations ago, fleeing or fighting in stressful situations was not a good option for a female who was pregnant or taking care of offspring, and women who developed and maintained social alliances were better able to care formultiple offspring in stressful times.

The “tending” pattern is especially apparent in research conducted by UCLA psychologist Rena Repetti, who, in one of the studies analysed in Taylor’s research, examined the differences between fathers’ and mothers’ behaviors with their children after a stressful workday.

“When the typical father in the study came home after a stressful day at work, he responded to stress by wanting to be left alone, enjoying peace and quiet away from the stress of the office; when office-related stress was particularly acute, a typical response would be to react harshly or create conflict with his wife or children,” Taylor said. “When the typical mother in the study came home from work bearing stress, she was more likely to cope with her bad day by focusing her attention on nurturing her children.

How did bio behavioral differences in how men and women cope with stress elude researchers until now?

“Until five years ago, many research studies on stress focused on males – either male rodents or human male participants in the laboratory,” Taylor said. “Women were largely excluded in stress research because many researchers believed that monthly fluctuations in hormones created stress responses that varied too widely to be considered statistically valid.

“But since 1995, when the federal government mandated broad representation of both men and women in agency-funded medically-relevant research grants, the number of women represented in stress studies has increased substantially. Researchers are now beginning to realize that men and women use different coping mechanisms when dealing with stress.”

“This is the first effort to identify a new stress regulatory system since the 1950s, and we are very excited about its ability to explain stress-related behavior that has not fit in traditional approaches to studying stress,” Taylor said. “For example, people under stress, especially women, often seek social support from others, but until now, we haven’t understood why or what the biological effects of support are. We are much closer now.”

In addition to Taylor, the research team includes former UCLA post-doctoral scholars Laura Cousino Klein (now an assistant professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State University), Brian P. Lewis (now an assistant professorat Syracuse), and Regan A.R. Gurung, (now an assistant professor at theUniversity of Wisconsin/Green Bay); and UCLA graduate students Tara L.Gruenewald and John A. Updegraff.

Information on Oxytocin was sourced from – Researchers-Identify-Key-Biobehavioral-

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