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October 2019
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technical manual

Strengths Similarities and Differences for Men and Women

Posted by: Alex Linley & Helen Dovey


We have recently completed an update to the gender norms for the 60 strengths of Realise2, based on a sample of 12,769 people. This update is now included in the Realise2 Technical Manual (all 126 pages of it…).


The striking conclusion we draw from this analysis is that there are far, far more similarities between men and women in relation to the Realise2 strengths, than there are differences. In fact, we could go so far as to say there is a greater difference within gender (between the highest and lowest scoring male, or the highest and lowest scoring female) than there is between the mean scores of each gender.


Where we do find differences, they are all – consistently – of a small effect size, with not a single difference of 180 gender comparisons showing a medium or large effect size. In practice, this means that of the differences that do exist, these differences are small and not worth amplifying or being concerned about in any everyday context.


In a handful of cases (five of 180 gender comparisons), we saw small but consistent gender differences across the three Realise2 dimensions of Performance, Use and Energy.


As a Realise2 practitioner, if you wanted to pay slightly more attention to these strengths when you were working with men or women, respectively, here is the summary:


Competitive is the single strength where men scored consistently higher than women on the three dimensions of Performance, Use and Energy – but again, remember that these effect sizes were only small.


Emotional Awareness, Gratitude, Order and Relationship Deepener were the only strengths where women scored consistently higher than men on the three dimensions of Performance, Use and Energy – but once again, please do remember that these effect sizes were only small.


You might think we’ve gone for overkill with all the mentions of “remember these effect sizes were only small” – and we have, for good reason.


Human beings – and the media in particular – seem to be wired to focus on amplify and gender differences, when the reality is that there are more similarities than there are differences. Our emphasis on this is simply intended to try and prevent you from falling into the same trap.


What do you think about these gender differences and similarities? How do they resonate – or not – with your own experiences? Let us know by sharing your thoughts on the Comment section below.



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