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“It was tea break at my first ever board meeting and as the only female present, I was told to serve the coffee. I asked them how they had been doing it before I came there and they all went silent. Apparently, the other female whose role I just took up had been the one serving. Trash!”




Despite many advances for women, there are still certain distinguishing features in the feminine and masculine roles in the workplace. Throughout history, men have been privileged at work, while women have been relegated to domestic duties and homemaker roles. Today, “privileged” males still feel entitled to special treatment at work, while women may feel unjustly treated as underdogs. It is not out of place that sometimes, feminine and masculine roles can work to each other’s benefit, but sometimes they can also be detrimental if the effects of the homeplace dynamics are not factored into consideration. It is common knowledge that women have long dealt with less than equal treatment and pay, glass ceilings and a host of other limitations placed on their working lives. But what is intriguing is the fact that even though it seems that women are governed by the same rules as men in the workplace, there are a set of unwritten rules that are implied and just as restrictive as in the story shared above. The workplace is not always fair for all involved, but when you know what to expect, you can be better prepared for issues that arise. This article seeks to address the role of the home-place dynamics and how it affects gender roles in the workplace.


Women at Work: Common Misconceptions

The notion that women are weaker than men is a mindset that has been entrenched from childhood. From the home place, men have always been raised to feel superior to the female gender. A patriarchal society has always been the norm and even though many support groups have arisen and are still rising to empower the voices of women, certain established thought processes over generations will take time to erode. These misconceptions subtly find themselves at play even in the workplace and they form hindrances to women as they look for advancement opportunities and leadership roles. Many women are having to work twice as hard just to prove that they can do their jobs excellently because some managers and bosses do not believe that women are as capable as men. It is why women are expected to be servers at events while their male counterparts expect to be served. Despite these misconceptions, women often overcome obstacles to achieve success.


1. Women are Weak Leaders:

“Be a man! Stop behaving like a woman”, is a common statement often made in the home. From childhood, we’ve been taught that females are emotional and we see this ideology at play even in the workplace. Leadership styles often differ between men and women, leading to the misconception that women are emotional and do not make good leaders. But is this truly accurate? Women were found to be more receptive to team efforts in the workplace than their male counterparts, according to a 2005 study by Catalyst. The study declared women as more “supportive and rewarding” in leadership roles. These women employed more compassionate and constructive behaviour in regard to their team. Furthermore, women proved to be more persuasive and scored higher than men when it came to both persuasiveness and assertiveness. According to an article published by IntechOpen, one cannot conclude that men’s leadership skills are more powerful and more important than women’s skills or vice versa, but it is clear that gender differences do exist and people should capitalize on them.  Many women like to spend meeting times talking through problems, asking for advice and resolving issues through communication. Many men on the other hand may solve problems by working through issues and solving problems on their own. Women may appear weak or indecisive as a result of the differences between their leadership styles, but this is actually a great way to build teamwork. It is best to consider the word ‘complementary’ when comparing the male vs female leadership style rather than the word ‘different’. It is also possible for leaders to break out of the stereotype and develop a series of skills that are not necessarily traditionally linked to their own gender.


2. Family Life Distracts Women

Women are homemakers, therefore, they cannot give their best to “other things”. Have you heard this before?  It is a common misconception about working women that they have a stronger sense of family loyalty than men. The Reuters article (in 2009) described a study conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois, Chicago, concerning the family and work responsibilities of transportation employees and how many bosses believed women had a greater tendency to have conflicts between their family and work obligations, resulting in less productivity. This of course was just a perception and is not accurate. Unfortunately, because of this misconception, women are often forced to prove loyalty to their employers by working harder than their male counterparts or making sacrifices such as not spending time with family. Even sadder is the discriminatory practice that originates from the idea that mothers are dedicated to their families first and their work second. As a result, their benefits are often negatively impacted, as are their chances of receiving promotions and raises, as well as their selection for high-profile projects. These factors are more than enough to stifle a mother’s career.


3. Men Are Nurtured to be Confident and Assertive

Men generally feel more confident in their work environment than women and this is no surprise. Men have been groomed as the head of the home and confidence as well as leadership traits are a natural process of their upbringing. The tendency for men to attempt tasks they aren’t prepared for is more of a ‘privilege’ trait imbibed from the homeplace than an evolutionarily inherited trait. Men have been nurtured to “be a man” so showing fear “is not allowed”. In contrast, many women may feel unprepared even when they have prepared diligently. Culturally, women are not expected to assert themselves, especially in the presence of men. They are supposed to be “meek”, “submissive” and “obedient” even though these words are simply a front for the true intent of the word society seeks to use – “doormats” and “subjugated”. Unfortunately, this upbringing affects women at work because they don’t assert themselves and make their voices heard as men do. For example, many women fail to apply for jobs outside their expertise, but men are more likely to take the chance. The implication of this is that women are sometimes overlooked at work and are even likely to be offered less salary than men with the same credentials. When women seek to be heard at their workplaces, which is against societal and homeplace upbringing, she is called ambitious, callous and uncaring in her actions. Whereas her male counterpart is called daring, a goal-getter and an achiever.



Despite the fact that gender roles at work are less clear cut than they used to be, and women are becoming more empowered, many men still hold onto ‘privilege’, enabling them to feel more comfortable at work than their female counterparts and this is as a result of the difference in their upbringing. We need to prioritize giving our girls a voice from the home, making them understand the difference between submission and subjugation, and allowing them to assert themselves while retaining their feminity. The real work is done from the homeplace. Otherwise, women will continue to be underestimated in the workplace and it will propel them to work harder and take on more responsibilities than necessary resulting in an increased workload and work-family life imbalance.



Picture Source: Unsplash


Every time I try to get close Trevor, he just gives me mono syllabic answers as if telling me to mind my business. But when he is with his friends, he never stops talking. It hurts! It’s almost as if he’s one person out there and a totally different person at home”


Almost every parent can relate to that statement above. Your child who used to talk with you about anything and everything before becoming an adolescent is suddenly keeping his distance and seems to have multiple identities depending on the social context he finds himself in. This in itself is not a problem (you can check out our course to know why they act the way they do) but it is crucial to find the balance because in extreme cases, you can as well call it a red flag. However, based on Erik Erikson’s theory, adolescence is when identity formation occurs and it is at this point that they have the most interaction with different social milieus. Identity development occurs within a social context. The concept of psychosocial development, according to Erikson, emphasizes the connection between biological and psychological development on one side as well as the recognition and regulation of social institutions on the other hand.  An adolescent’s identification with self (that is, his identity) is determined to a great extent by his interactions between his individuality and the society so that the adolescent has the opportunity to see and be seen by the social milieu that counts. At the end of this phase, people will either come out with a distorted identity, especially if like Trevor, they are allowed to continue with multiple identities or they could come out with a consolidated identity if helped through adolescence. Who are today is a direct result of what our adolescence was and that’s what this article is all about. Although little research has been conducted on how different kinds of social contexts regulate this identity formation, we have carved out seven social contexts that play a direct role in identity formation. We call them the “Places”.

The seven places for identity formation

There are seven “Places” that every human will interact with at some point in time in their lives before or during adolescence. Identity is consolidated when “who you are” in all seven of these Places complement, rather than antagonize, one another. Having a thorough understanding of who you are in each of the Places will definitely help identity consolidation and give a solid sense of self-awareness.


1. The Home Place: 

The home-place forms the foundational block upon which all the other social institutions will build on. An ideal home comes from a loving family living together to raise their children. In our day to day interactions backed up with creative research, we discovered that people want to

  • Have healthy, harmonious and prosperous families;
  • Experience undying love with their spouses;
  • Raise children in a loving, safe and secure atmosphere; among others,

But quite a number, have residual experiences from childhood that have tainted the lens through which life is viewed and it ultimately distorts their sense of identity. Check out your areas of struggle and conduct an honest evaluation, chances are that some of those struggles have their roots at the home (during childhood). Even our interactions at work and our roles at work are usually first defined at home.


2. The Work Place:

The workplace is any place where work is done; basically a place of employment. It is another major place where we take on our identity and by which our identity is defined. When we are asked, “who are you?” our default answer oftentimes is usually about the work we do, and who we are at work. That’s how powerful workplace identity is! When we function in a workplace environment that allows us to

  • Be part of a motivated, growing, and optimizing team
  • Build healthy relationships among teammates
  • Enjoy work-life balance
  • Experience personal fulfilment in every dimension of wellness
  • Translate personal wellness to corporate wellness,

it helps our identity soar. In the workplace, emotional wellness strikes as the number one factor in being a productive workforce or not. A solid identity helps form a foundation for emotional wellness.


3. The Learning Place:

The Learning Place is a learning environment that builds capabilities and competencies for wellness, wholeness and winning and it provides students with access to learning resources and spaces for teaching, learning, collaborating and networking. We spend a lot of time in school.  and it’s clear that most of our identity is shaped by the environment that we are in. Schools do play an important role in adolescents’ identity development. Studies on how schools and teachers unintentionally impact adolescents’ identity showed that, at school, messages may unintentionally be communicated to adolescents concerning who they should or can be through differentiation and selection, teaching strategies, teacher expectations, and peer norms.


4. The  Fun and Dating Place:

The fun and dating place is an invitation to deeper, meaningful relationships and life. This is the place where we open our hearts to love and keep it open irrespective of the external circumstances. There is a relationship between identity and intimacy. The quality of our relationships can make or break a person’s identity. Someone who started out with a healthy sense of self can lose it all just by being in a relationship with a narcissist and vice versa.  We understand that heartbreaks and disappointments can alter the very foundation of our core but thank goodness that our identity isn’t built from just one source. Also, sometimes just being in a relationship can lead to a reduction in negative traits. Identity can flourish when the fun and dating place is characterized by:

  • Living wholesome single lives
  • Building lasting friendships and relationships
  • Finding and giving true love
  • Nurturing love
  • Sealing and consummating love in the most endearing and enduring manner


5. The Market Place:

Understanding the competitive nature of the marketplace, the negative pressure that could emanate from the market place and the crushing disappointments that could ensue if things go out of hand, it is no surprise that this is another place where identity is forged or dissolved. The marketplace is the actual arena where trade and sales take place. It is quite different from the workplace in that the workplace deals with your internal relations with colleagues and employees while the marketplace is where external relations occur. This is where you deal with your clients, investors, etc. Some people are wicked towards their staff but helpful towards potential clients – that is an identity clash. It’s a fake and it’s only a question of time before who you truly are is expressed. How do you stay sane with all the pressure from the marketplace? In the midst of such stringent competition, how do you break even without compromising who you are? How do you win without losing your identity?


6. The Public place:

Law Insider easily describes the public place as any place that the public has access to, including but not limited to planes, trains, taxis, buses, shops, airports, railway stations, etc. Simply put, the public place is a community. It is incredible the power our communities wield in terms of identity shaping. Being a part of a healthy, peaceful, stable and prosperous community can do a lot of good to one’s identity. Have you ever felt prejudice towards someone you only recently met simply because of a stereotype you’ve been indoctrinated into? Why do you think stereotypes are powerful? It is because we believe that people take their identities from their cultural upbringings and their communities. And you’re not wrong. Except you deliberately choose who you want to be, chances are that you will easily be defined by your community.


7. The Soul Place:

Corporate irresponsibility and the absence of human connection and compassion is a direct fallout of spiritual unwellness which is reflective of the soul place.  The soul place is a deep dive into your soul. This is a powerful place where identity is consolidated. The soul place has little to do with religion and more to do with how connected to your core. How in tune are you with how you feel and what you feel? Do you know what you are saying about yourself? Even if you were raised to be a goal-getter if you cant see that in the soul place, you will not become a goal-getter. The truest version of YOU is made in the soul place. The soul place allows you experience wholeness in the spiritual dimension, beyond the body and soul. It gives you an assurance of peace in the innermost being and guarantees you of the future and the hereafter.



Who we are in each of the Places can beam the light on how well we are in tune with our core. Sometimes, we behave differently when we are in a particular social context and that is not a problem if your anchor (who you are) is well defined. It is the definition of who you are that will help your behaviour in each of those Places. Identity consolidation occurs when who you are in each of those places complements your other selves. It is safe to say that our identity is a proposition. It’s a summation of who everyone around us has said we are right from the time we were born.  Sometimes we can forget this and feel trapped, struggling to meet those expectations. But understanding that we are much larger than who we are told we are, frees us from those mental limitations and makes seemingly impossible new life paths possible.






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