Women improve with age by becoming even better at relationships of all kinds, clearer communicators and have even greater emotional intelligence according to Cognitive Neuroscientist and Business Improvement Strategist, Dr Lynda Shaw.
With much talk in the media about the drawbacks of ageing, Dr Shaw says women naturally reinvent themselves as they mature.
Dr Shaw explains: “Both genders can relish that experience brings confidence and we learn to enjoy the here and now more as we age. We have realistic expectations and have probably invested heavily in great relationships with friends and family. Most of us care about our appearance, but have also learnt to place importance on other things. That said, women are quite extraordinary as they get older.”
“As our oestrogen supply runs down around the time of the menopause and we have been around the block a few times and picked up a few bruises along the way, women are more able to observe, read a situation, evaluate and communicate. They are more likely to have strong relationships and as children grow up, the female needs to find other investments to satisfy her needs. This is when her attention moves further outside the home and at this stage women are stronger than ever, and can contribute enormously to the economy, community and society as a whole.”
Women tend to talk more in order to feel bonded to her female friends. A female is hard-wired to seek out her network in readiness for times of trouble but is also able to ‘read’ situations with greater clarity. Shaw continues: “It is quite typical for men to think women are almost spooky in the way they intuitively understand things. The female will ‘see’ problems that males are oblivious to. Take the scenario of a party A woman will notice if a couple have fallen out, or if there is an attraction between two people who have spent the evening avoiding one another. Men rarely notice such things. There is nothing spooky going on, females are just wired differently to males and they get even better at it with age.”
So why are women different to men?
- At 6 – 12 weeks gestation a foetus is exposed to a flood of hormone secretion. This is either a surge of testosterone, oestrogen or progesterone depending on the genetic code of whether we’re male or female. Therefore, this hormonal output results in our sexual differences both physically and in the brain which leads to different patterns of behaviour.
- Scientific research has repeatedly found that the hypothalamus is different in a male and female brain. This region controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, sleep as well as affecting the endocrine system that also controls sexual activity.
- Studies have also found that men have larger brains, but we now know that size doesn’t matter as there is no difference in intelligence!
- The male brain has more grey matter and the female brain has more white matter so we think differently. Grey matter is rich in active nerve cell bodies and white matter consists more of bundles of nerve fibres which are the connections between neurons.
- The female brain has a larger limbic system, which means that females tend to be more in touch with their emotions. In addition, the language centres are larger in women and females tend to respond better to auditory stimulation.
Dr Shaw continues: “Both typical male and female brains have their own strengths, but we are products of our biological genetic code, chemical make-up including hormones, environment and social upbringing. Discussing typical gender characteristics must not inflict unnecessary limitations on any of us. That said, the world is beckoning for the mature women who have improved with age to embrace and enjoy the wonderful resources and experiences they have.”
Dr Lynda Shaw has lectured in Psychology and Neuroscience at Brunel University and conducted research on brain function and impairment, specialising in consciousness, emotion and the effects of ageing.
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