Creativity Empowerment for Women: Workshops and Practices for Lifelong Learning and Growth

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Delores B. Gallo


History shows that there have been far fewer eminently creative women than men in Western civilization due to culturally imposed gender biases that result in social and psychological challenges for women. These biases sometimes force women to make choices between procreation and creation and may limit resources like time, space and financial stability. As a result, many women feel powerless to fulfill their aspirations. This paper adopts Amabile's finding that the creative person is influenced by internal and external factors including social-environmental variables and personality dispositions. Women, however, face unique challenges to the creative life due to social and culturally imposed gender biases (Abra, Bond, Hayes, Kirschenbaum, Mowrer, Popiel, Ochse, Purto, Pohlman, Pollard and Pollard, Reis and Valentine-French, and Woolf). Arredondo theorizes that women can learn new dispositions and attitudes as a path to empowerment, which is identified as creating identity through relationship, having clarity of thought and self-esteem through literature by Arredondo, Belenky, Miller, Surrey, and Wilson-Schaef. Attitudes and dispositions for creativity in women named in the literature by Amabile, Csikszentmihalyi, Davis, Estes and Torrance are used with adult learning principles and practices for teaching women. Theories by Davis, Eitington, Gardner, Johnson and Johnson, Lawler, and Rice are used for a workshop structure and strategy. Using this strategy and structure, I developed a five-module curriculum that introduces and cultivates creative dispositions in women, develops confidence and self-knowledge while in relationship with others and supports continued creative practices for life-long learning. This curriculum goes beyond teaching concepts, to facilitating the incorporation of the production of creative work into every day life. It is necessary for women to empower themselves if they are to have the same impact on the world that men have. This challenge raises questions about a system that was designed for the success of men by men which undervalues and shows little support for women in creative endeavors.


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