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“Tremendous amounts of talent are being lost to our society just because that talent wears a skirt.”
The stories of talented and eminent women are too seldom told. Little research has been conducted and less is known about the ways women's talents emerge and are developed, how they differ from the talents of men, and the choices some women make to construct and use their gifts and talents. The social and political movement focusing on women during the past five decades has provided an emerging understanding of their talents as well as the roles that some gifted women have played in our society and the forces that shaped those roles. Over the last two decades, I have studied talented girls and women from all domains across their life spans and have answered some questions, but introduced even more (Reis, 1987, 1995, 1998, 2001). The decision to identify this diverse group as talented or eminent rather than gifted stems from their collective preferences for these descriptors. Through these collective research experiences, a definition of talent in women has emerged that is summarized as follows. Feminine talent development occurs when women with high intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership ability or potential achieve in an area they choose and when they make contributions that they consider meaningful to society. These contributions are enhanced when women develop personally satisfying relationships and pursue what they believe to be important work that helps to make the world a healthier, more beautiful and peaceful place in which diverse expressions of art and humanity are celebrated.
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