Blog Archives

Barriers to Women’s Achievement

Barriers for women’s achievement and career advancement are pervasive and pernicious. The belief that the ‘glass ceiling’ has been shattered is itself a barrier. Societal prejudice and stereotypes create ongoing barriers. Career advancement for women is thwarted by a lack of women in the ‘C’ suite and thus a lack of role models who advance to mid-level leadership roles. Qualities associated with leadership mimic male attributes. A long-standing barrier for women exists in a lack of access/entrance to the ‘good ole boys’ network. Networking is crucial in career advancement, but the opportunity to network with peers is lacking for women. Women are often forced with difficult decisions regarding work-life balance when pursuing their career. Limited availability for after-work obligations, travel, or training is reflected in job evaluations.

Impostor Syndrome – not feeling ‘good enough’ – affects how women react to workplace discrimination; how they choose their careers; and how they leave a career (quietly, leaving unresolved issues behind). It starts early for women and can determine what classes they take in high school and college. Reduced confidence can become a self-fulfilling effect in their lives. Internalizing, rationalizing, and avoidance of barriers reduce their chance of career advancement.

What can companies do to develop female talent within their organizations? Companies need to acknowledge ‘Second-Generation Gender Bias’ – a bias which creates an environment reflective of the values of men in the workplace, but includes subtle discrimination against women. Female talent development needs to recognize ability, ensure equitable professional development, provide access to peer-networking opportunities, and afford women affirmation through the creation of leadership identity. It is enhanced when more women are placed in leadership roles. This counters a male-oriented work culture that only values gender-based qualities and maintains the status quo.

There are many things women can do to promote gender equity including promoting discussion of gender bias in their workplace. They can be positive role models for and mentors to their female co-workers. And, self-advocacy is so important, as well. Women can build communities of support within companies where they feel safe to give candid feedback, discuss sensitive topics, and provide emotional support for each other.

Gender inequity starts early and continues throughout a woman’s life. Education of all stakeholders can make a real difference for women in the workplace. Women excel at all levels of education; grades; participation in GT programs, AP classes; and graduation rates. Yet, fail to rise to the highest levels in the corporate/academic world. Women at all ages should not be discouraged in seeking careers in male-dominated fields. Educators must acknowledge and address the ‘confidence gap’ that female students increasingly face over time in areas such as math & science. New approaches to education that can improve outcomes for women include design thinking, AI integration, and STEM equity.

There are many things that can ensure gender equity in the future including investing in lifelong learning opportunities, offering flexible work schedules and environments, and encouraging work-life balance. Gender equity in the workplace can be accomplished if companies mandate gender equity, establish a chief diversity officer, consider drawing workers from a broad diverse talent pool, and create open lines of communication.

This week we celebrated 10 YEARS of #gtchat on Twitter and were excited to welcome @DeborahMersino ~ founder and first moderator of Global #gtchat ~ as our guest!




View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Sprite’s Site courtesy of Jo Freitag.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.


6 Barriers for Women’s Career Advancement

Women Rising: The Unseen Barriers

Who Will Lead and Who Will Follow? A Social Process of Leadership Identity Construction in Organizations (pdf)

Impossible Selves: Image Strategies and Identity Threat in Professional Women’s Career Transitions (pdf)

Negotiating in the Shadows of Organizations: Gender, Negotiation, and Change (pdf)

Taking Gender into Account: Theory and Design for Women’s Leadership Development Plans (pdf)

Barriers for Women to Positions of Power: How Societal and Corporate Structures, Perceptions of Leadership and Discrimination Restrict Women’s Advancement to Authority

Gender Issues and Achievement

Women are “Bossy” and Men are “Decisive”: What Gender Stereotypes Really Mean in the Workplace and How to Overcome Them

Defining Female Achievement: Gender, Class, and Work in Contemporary Korea (pdf)

Women in the Boardroom A Global Perspective (pdf)

Top 10 Work Force Trends to Watch in the New Decade

The Future of Women at Work: Transitions in the Age of Automation

Women and the Future of Work

Women in C-suite: Navigating Invisible Obstacles

New Study Reveals 6 Barriers Keeping Women from High-Power Networking

Women in the Workplace: A Research Roundup

Girls Get Smart, Boys Get Smug: Historical Changes in Gender Differences in Math, Literacy, and Academic Social Comparison and Achievement

‘Women and Leadership: Defining the Challenges’ in Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice (book)

Why A Post About Women Downplaying Their Awesomeness Went Viral

Additional Resources:

The Invisible Obstacles for Women

Social Norms as a Barrier to Women’s Employment in Developing Countries (pdf)

Dismantling Perceptions, Attitudes, and Assumptions: Women Leaders are Interested in Advancement

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men (book)

The Confidence Gap

School Is Not Working for Too Many Boys and Nobody Wants to Talk About It

Feel like a fraud?

Image courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy Lisa Conrad.

Photo courtesy of Deborah Mersino.

Photo courtesy of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented.

Image courtesy of Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources (AUS).


Should Achievement Be the Sole Determinant for Inclusion in a Gifted Program?

Achievement copy

Image courtesy of Flickr  CC 2.0 License


Inclusion of a particular student in a gifted program is often predicated on how the term ‘gifted’ is perceived by those determining entrance requirements. When schools have a talent development mind-set, gifted programs seem to promote achievement as the primary goal. High-achievers are sought after while twice-exceptional and under-performing students are usually overlooked. Lack of a federal policy on gifted education has led to a widely disjointed approach to how local school districts determine who participates in a school’s gifted program.

Is there a difference between gifted and high-achieving? Bertie Kingore in her consummate piece, “High Achiever, Gifted Learner, Creative Thinker” explains it this way:

“Identification of gifted students is clouded when concerned adults misinterpret high achievement as giftedness. High-achieving students are noticed for their on-time, neat, well-developed, and correct learning products. Adults comment on these students’ consistent high grades and note how well they acclimate to class procedures and discussions. Some adults assume these students are gifted because their school-appropriate behaviors and products surface above the typical responses of grade-level students.

Educators with expertise in gifted education are frustrated trying to help other educators and parents understand that while high achievers are valuable participants whose high-level modeling is welcomed in classes, they learn differently from gifted learners. In situations in which they are respected and encouraged, gifted students’ thinking is more complex with abstract inferences and more diverse perceptions than is typical of high achievers. Articulating those differences to educators and parents can be difficult.”

It was agreed by most that many gifted students are high-achievers, but that alone should not be the sole determining factor; who receives gifted services should be based on a much more comprehensive procedure.

When asked if gifted programs should cater only to high performers, the answer was a resounding, “No!” Many pointed out that gifted children who do not perform according to ‘standards’ may well be the ones who need help the most. As Cait, school psychologist and blogger at My Little Poppies, pointed out, “You’d leave so many behind. The outliers, the creatives, the square pegs- those who think differently.” Gifted programs which address social and emotional needs may be the last glimmer of hope for some students.

Should students who are not performing up to expectations be left-behind in favor of students who ‘want’ to learn? This was obviously an emotionally charged question. Students with high ability who are stuck in unchallenging academic environments may tune out and not even try to achieve. Molli Osburn, the Creative Math Coach,  observed, “Lack of challenge leads to lack of engagement, which leads to lack of achievement.” Curriculum design and programs need to be tailored to motivate and inspire gifted children. Susanne Thomas, Director of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Online, noted that “We lose the slow, deep, rich thinkers. We lose so much. Gifted education shouldn’t be a reward, but a program that is MEETING NEEDS.”

Finally, the discussion turned to what criteria should be used in gifted screenings. Jade Rivera, educator and coach suggested, “Recommendations from knowledgeable adults that have experience with gifted theory and the child.” Culture, socio-economic levels, portfolios, qualitative assessments, observation, and parental insights were all mentioned as important aspects in identification. For a more in-depth look at this topic see the full transcript at Storify.

gtchat thumbnail logoGlobal #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:



Gifted Under Achievers from Jo Freitag

Underachievement of Verbally Gifted Children

Potential Doesn’t Equal Performance

Comparison of High Achievers’ & Low Achievers’ Attitudes, Perceptions & Motivations (pdf)

Promoting a Positive Achievement Attitude with Gifted & Talented Students

Achievement Versus Ability Why One Isn’t a Sign of the Other

Is It a Cheetah? by Stephanie Tolan

What is the Right Score for Admittance to a Gifted Program?

Gifted Underachievers: Underachieving or Refusing to Play the Game?

London G&T: Teacher Tools for Identifying Gifted & Talented Students

When Kids Qualify for Gifted Programs, but Don’t Sign Up

Latent Ability Grades and Test Scores Systematically Underestimate Intellectual Ability of Negatively Stereotyped Students

Maryland State Department of Education Criteria For Excellence: Gifted and Talented Education Program Guidelines (pdf)

Georgia Department of Education: Education Programs for Gifted Students Evaluation and Eligibility Chart (pdf)

Texas Education Agency Gifted Talented Education

The Problem With Being Gifted

To Show Or Not To Show (Work) from Byrdseed Gifted

Effective Grouping of Gifted Students with guest Lisa Van Gemert

Lisa VanGemert2014

This week #gtchat welcomed longtime friend, Lisa Van Gemert, the Youth and Education Ambassador for American Mensa, to tackle the tough questions surrounding effective grouping of gifted students. Lisa explained to us the many different types of grouping that were possible, but reminded us “it’s important to keep groups fluid – allowing movement with achievement and progress.” She went on to say, “Teachers need to teach the skills of working in groups. It doesn’t come naturally to anyone, especially the gifted.” A valid point often overlooked by critics of grouping.

One of the biggest complaints that gifted students have about grouping is having to do the majority of the work. Lisa told us, “It is *critical* that a student never be graded on another student’s effort (or lack thereof). Instant frustration. It’s unfair to set up GT kids for social failure by putting them in groups in which they have to take over in order to succeed.

An oft heard criticism of ability grouping is that it undermines less-able children. However, Lisa pointed out that this is just an excuse to deprive GT kids of the opportunity to work with their peers. Her philosophy ~ “I believe that best serving all children best serves all children. The end.” We couldn’t agree more! A full transcript of this chat may be found here.

Lisa Van Gemert will be presenting at this year’s TAGT Conference in Fort Worth, December 3rd to the 5th. You can register for the conference here. Check out the conference schedule here.


Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:



Amazing Classrooms: Engaging the High Achievers (YouTube 14:35)

Why Separate Classes for Gifted Students Boost All Kids

To Track or Not to Track via @jeff_shoemaker

Grouping Students by Ability Regains Favor in Classroom

Differentiation Class Poster – Free Download from Lisa Van Gemert

Lisa Van Gemert’s Profile at eSpeakers

Lisa Van Gemert’s website

Grouping without Fear from Lisa Van Gemert

The Resurgence of Ability Grouping and Persistence of Tracking

Effective Classrooms, Effective Schools: A Research Base for Reform in Latin American Education

What Educators Need to Know about Ability Grouping (pdf)

The Relationship of Grouping Practices to the Education of the Gifted & Talented Learner (pdf)

Grouping Gifted Children at Hoagies Gifted

The Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Method (SCGM) A Paradigm Shift in The Delivery of

Gifted Education Services by Susan Winebrenner (pdf)

Your Favorite Grouping Strategy Creates Bullies from Ginger Lewman

Multicultural Gifted Education

Donna Ford Multicultural Gifted Education

This week’s Global #gtchat welcomed Dr. Donna Y. Ford of Vanderbilt University to chat about Multicultural Gifted Education, a topic of which Dr. Ford has been raising awareness for nearly 20 years. Please see our recent interview here.

For many of the participants from 20 states and 6 countries, the information provided by Dr. Ford proved to be a real education! When asked about the role culture plays in participation in gifted programs, Dr. Ford explained, “Culture always matters. Educators and policies are harmful if colorblind – results in under-representation. Culture matters when making ALL decisions & selecting measures/instruments for ID and services. Culture matters when making ALL decisions & selecting measures/instruments for screening. Policies and procedures must consider culture to not be racist and discriminatory. When the culture of non-White students is addressed, White privilege is also addressed. And equity improves.” A full transcript may be found on our Storify site. 


Culturally Diverse Gifted Students” Livebinder

Multicultural Gifted Education” from Dr. Donna Y. Ford

Understanding Under-representation in Gifted Education

Dr. Donna Y. Ford Bio

Dr. Ford’s Website

Integrating Multicultural and Gifted Education: A Curricular Framework” (pdf)

An Interview with Dr. Donna Y. Ford (pdf)

We Must Be As Diligent About Closing the Achievement Gap As We Were About Creating It

Welcome Dr. Donna Y. Ford to SENG’s Professional Advisory Committee

Civil Rights Data Collection Data Snapshot: College and Career Readiness

Closing the Achievement Gap: Donna Ford (YouTube)

Donna Ford YouTube

Intelligence Testing & Cultural Diversity: Concerns, Cautions & Considerations by Dr. Donna Y. Ford

Cybraryman’s Culture Page

Cybraryman’s Multicultural Celebration Page

Cybraryman’s Poverty Page 

Cybraryman’s You Matter Page

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