A Feminine Perspective of Giftedness

  • Linda Kreger SilvermanEmail author
  • Nancy B. Miller


The feminine perspective, the legacy of Leta Hollingworth, focuses on developmental differences in childhood and equal pportunity. The masculine perspective, the legacy of Francis Galton, equates giftedness with eminence. Women, conomically disadvantaged, and culturally diverse groups do not have the same opportunities to attain eminence. The lack of eminent women has been attributed to Darwin’s variability hypothesis: since males are more variable than females, more males are assumed to be at the extremes of intelligence, whereas women tend toward the mean. In 1914, Leta Hollingworth completely discredited this hypothesis. Research for 100 years has demonstrated that there are at least as many gifted girls as boys–-even in the highest IQ ranges. Men now disparage IQ tests. Internationally, the field still defines giftedness as the potential for eminence. This chapter discusses masculine and feminine conceptions, the development of gifted girls, and barriers for girls from culturally diverse and low socioeconomic circumstances.


Giftedness Eminent women Gifted girls IQ testing Diversity Cultural diversity Economic Diversity Sexism Gender equality 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for the Study of Advanced DevelopmentDenverUSA
  2. 2.University of DenverDenverUSA

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