My rant! I am usually an appreciative type person, having learned so much of how this approach provides much more meaningful answers, from Christie Andrus, www.humanfactor.ca, who teaches this in the work she does and she’s a friend of mine.
Appreciative Inquiry helps me to reframe my endless pursuit for answers to questions I have, that also seem endless. I am told that an inquiring and curious mind is a good trait to have. However, at times, I reach a limit where I cross over the line from appreciative inquiry into basic criticism followed by slight outrage.
Please let me explain. Perhaps starting with some context would be helpful. I used to teach the Psychology of Women and Feminist Counselling at St. Lawrence College in Kingston. In addition, I read a lot of studies, leading edge text books with interest, one of which was, years ago, this fantastic book by Carol Gilligan; In a Different Voice, published in 1982! Some things have not changed, at all. Read on please.
What I found most fascinating about her work was her ability to illuminate the biased interpretation researchers put on certain studies that were conducted regarding gender differences. More specifically girls and ultimately women were seen as indecisive, vague about their/our views when questions were asked that were intended to elicit a yes/no answer. And, here’s the most interesting part of this research, Ms. Gilligan choose to reinterpret that research to suggest that instead of being “indecisive” women were more inclined to want more information in order to make an informed decision and were mostly seeking other solutions to problems that were being presented as requiring a yes/no answer. She choose instead to view this as a quality rather than a deficit in that girls and women were much better problem solvers and less likely to resort to a quick answer before exploring all of the possibilities.
So, why am I telling you this? The research pointing out the differences between how women think and feel about topics is abundant and has been around for decades.
Now here’s my rant...if you’re going to put together a presentation that’s intended to “Meet the Needs of Women”, the underlying goal is to appeal to women’s needs including those of women who will be inheriting trillions of dollars, older women, women from diverse backgrounds ,do you think you should start with a young man in a navy blue suit where you point out how confident men are about their investments, the decisions they make about their money and their financial planning AND THEN GO ON TO SAY THAT WOMEN ARE THE EXACT OPPOSITE!!!??? Surely the answer is a resounding NO and I am here to say that sadly this is what the presentation went on to do! Suffice it to say that there was little to nothing in the presentation I saw and was asked for my feedback, that made me believe that women’s needs, based on the research were being addressed at all.
I was appalled and furious to think that so little has changed over the decades and why the heck aren’t companies doing their due diligence, addressing what we do know about women and our needs so that we can and will actually empower women so we can make informed decisions about our financial futures while ensuring that we can live our dreams while planning for our future. Why is this approach sadly lacking within our industry?
I would like to hear from more women, listen to your voices, hear your stories, find out what’s important to you, most of all.
I know some things about what women need and strive to know so much more.
Women have many needs that are not being met when it comes to the delivery of financial services because we continue to use language and a perspective that’s been developed primarily by men for men and that definitely needs to change.