Welcome to the Women’s Workshops page: a range of totally new and unique workshops run by Evolutionary Biologist Dr Mairi Macleod specially for women. The idea of these workshops is that by making them for women only, we can discuss ideas, interests and personal issues freely and without inhibition, and of course we’ll concentrate on areas of specific interest to women. It’ll be nice and cosy and relaxed, and because participant numbers will be limited to 10, there will be the opportunity for everyone to contribute and chat about issues that concern them personally.
The workshops will cover a range of issues important to women using a mainly evolutionary approach; sex, relationships & finding the right partner; health & wellbeing; success and satisfaction at work. In all the sessions there will be plenty of time for questions and discussion to see how the science applies to our personal lives, and also plenty of tea/coffee and cake – what’s not to like?
We’ll be scheduling these workshops for weekend dates in autumn 2017 in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. If you click on the button and enter your details to register an interest we’ll get back to you as soon as dates are available and you’ll get priority in booking so you can make sure you secure a place!
The Science of What Men & Women Want
In this first session we’ll look at what men want and what women want in terms of physique, intelligence, personality, and so on, and how this can change dramatically depending on the context and the situations we find ourselves in, the life stage we’re at, and the type of relationship we’re looking for.
We’ll talk about how our own “mate value” affects the way we can trade-off the demands we make of potential partners, and learn how there are lots of cons as well as pros in having a really hot partner.
We’ll discuss how our unique attributes and idiosynchracies can ultimately be far more important for our attractiveness than the first impressions we give, and we’ll finish up by talking about the implications of all this for how we should meet people and present ourselves in online dating.
Ever wondered why you keep going for bad boy types with exciting personalities even though it usually ends in tears? I’ll explain the pros and cons of different personality scores in men and how we trade off different qualities in a partner. I’ll show how we can identify and be attracted to ‘nice guys’ who’ll make the best long-term relationship material, or how to cope if you really must have your ‘bad boy’.
You’ll also discover your own scores for the different personality factors, and this will help you identify what’s important for you and what you should look for in a mate.
We’ll also talk about potentially abusive personalities, and how to spot the charming control freak before he can take over your life.
This is where we find out about promiscuity and chastity, infidelity and deception and whether or not we’re ‘designed’ for lifelong monogamy.
First we’ll discuss the concept of sociosexuality, or sexual restrictedness, and you’ll be able to determine your own score. We’ll discuss the causes and effects of our sociosexuality score and discover whether or not men and women really differ in their sex drive and sexual restrictedness.
We’ll talk about men’s sexual strategies; the committed guy vs. the playboy, and why men behave in this way. And we’ll discuss women’s strategies, what affects whether a woman sleeps around or sticks to one guy – and the pros and cons.
Then we’ll get on to the thorny subject of infidelity, and you’ll learn how to spot a potential infidel. We’ll talk about the reasons married men have affairs, and what the options are if your man is unfaithful, or if you find yourself as a mistress.
We’ll conclude this session with a discussion of whether or not humans have evolved to be monogamous for life, or whether we should look at different models for our relationships. Can we make monogamy work, what is love for, and how can science help us?.
The Science of Finding the Right Man
In this session you’ll learn about what attachment styles are and how they come about. You’ll find out what your own attachment style is and how this affects the way you handle relationships. I’ll show you how to find, and be attracted to, a secure partner and how to avoid falling for an avoidant – those are the guys who will drive you crazy!
If you or your partner have an insecure style, you’ll learn to cope and adjust so that you can have a happier and more secure relationship.
Here you’ll discover why so much of attraction literally comes down to chemistry, why smell is so important in sexual satisfaction, and why it’s vital that you love your partner’s smell.
We’ll talk about the implications for having babies, for using perfumes, for depilation, and how “the pill” can affect our partner choice and relationship satisfaction.
- Relationships and changing gender roles: Who wears the pants and how do we create and maintain desire?
We women are making great strides forward in our education and careers and increasingly we’re out-performing and out-earning the men around us. On one level this is a great thing but it also often creates difficulties in finding the kinds of relationships we want: Many men find successful, intelligent women intimidating, and many women find it hard to be attracted to any men other than alphas. In this session we’ll discuss the science of finding the kind of man we need: one who supports us in our ambitions, but also one with whom we can feel desire and have a satisfying partnership.
The Science of Having it All: Health, Wealth & Relationships for Women
- Can women “have it all”? Finding the right partner for the life you want, and how to keep desire in the relationship
These days women are far more financially independent than in years gone by and are increasingly becoming more highly educated and solvent than the men around them. This causes problems for women in finding partners, in having children and in maintaining relationships. It’s clear that if women want a fulfilling career and a great relationship and possibly kids, then it’s vital to find a partner who will be supportive and shoulder his share of domestic responsibility. We’ll talk through what the research suggests about all these issues and I’ll explain how we go about identifying the right kind of partner. But then the cost of egalitarian bliss may be a dearth of sexual desire and I’ll explain how it’s possible to create and maintain this, so you can actually “have it all”!
Women have evolved to compete with one another differently from the way men compete. In this session I’ll explain how this works and the implications it has for the way women fare in the workplace, especially in stereotypically male roles, in terms of cooperation & collaboration, sensitivity to criticism, value placed on skills & talents, the propensity to bitch & bully, and the ability to empathise and mind-read.
We’ll discuss the pros as well as the cons for women, and how these will partly depend on the culture of the working environment. I’ll finish up with suggestions as to how things can be improved for women firstly at an individual level, by harnessing and redirecting our evolved natures and motivations, and then at an organisational level, by working on the prevailing culture, changing the configuration of work spaces and by increasing bonding among women through fun, endorphin producing activities!
- Oestrogen – what the feminine hormone means for our health, fertility and relationships, and how to optimise levels for where we are in our lives.
In this session we’ll discuss what oestrogen does, it’s effect on our appearance and behaviour, and how it’s involved a trade-off between being feminine/attractive/sexy and being masculine/competitive/strong.
Then we’ll go on to talk about how we can optimise our hormone levels, taking into account personal history and risk factors, to balance what we want in terms of beauty, baby-making, and the avoidance of diseases such as breast cancer.
Finally we’ll get on to a discussion about what happens as we get older and the oestrogen is running out. I’ll explain what’s going on at menopause, the symptoms, and how to balance the risks of HRT or no HRT. We’ll talk about the alternatives to HRT in tackling menopause symptoms and the risk of osteoporosis, and we’ll discuss the relationship implications (at home and work) and the best ways forward.
The Science of Success for Women
- The biology of beauty, bitching and bullying: Hormones and competition among women in the workplace.
In this session we’ll discuss how and why attractive people have a big advantage in most realms of life, including greater success in the workplace and how good grooming produces massive benefits.
I’ll explain how much of this is connected with forming valuable alliances among women and we’ll discuss the importance of female social networks.
We’ll then go on to discuss the nature of competition among women and the effects on this of our fluctuating hormones and our own relationship situation.
We’ll finish up with take home messages for our workplace relationships as well as our personal lives.
- Which gender is in short supply?– finding the right sex ratio for your career, ambition, sex and relationships.
Sex ratio, that is the number of men relative to the number of women, has a massive impact on our relationships, both business and romantic. Basically, whichever gender is in short supply tends to have the upper hand. Although there’s clearly variation within both genders, when it comes to finding a partner, women usually want commitment, while men tend to favour casual sex and variety. This means then that if you’re in a place where men are in short supply, it’ll be hard for women to find a committed partner and men will often behave badly and this has implications for behaviour in universities and work places as well as bars and clubs. So sex ratio affects a woman’s options and decisions, and in this session we’ll discuss the implications for women’s careers, working relationships and personal life and we’ll talk about how to find the best sex ratios for the life you want.
Good leaders inspire loyalty and confidence, they command respect, and they have the ability to make tough decisions. Research shows that these qualities can all be influenced by a leader’s hormone profile, specifically their levels of testosterone and cortisol, and this holds true for women and men alike.
People with relatively high levels of testosterone and low cortisol are able to respond to difficult situations as a challenge, and to keep a cool rational head in the face of stress, allowing them to make good decisions.
In this session you’ll learn how to optimise your testosterone/cortisol balance, through action, diet, exercise and attention training, to become a better leader and achieve greater productivity. And the great thing is that the behaviours and thoughts that influence our hormone levels also have the capacity to be influenced by those hormones. So this means that once you’re thinking like a boss, your hormones will respond accordingly and have you acting like a boss.
- Women’s identity conflict – how to integrate your professional and feminine personas to become a better negotiator and be more productive.
Many women experience a conflict between their gender identity and their professional identity. This means that if we try to behave effectively in a professional capacity, particularly when it comes to male stereotypical jobs, we are concerned that there will be a social backlash if we’re not appearing feminine enough, and that our careers will suffer as a result. And this fear is well founded since both men and women tend to react negatively to women behaving in an assertive, masculine way.
But research also shows that women who feel less conflicted about their gender and professional identities are better able to negotiate effectively, are more productive at work, and are able to maintain good working relationships.
So what’s their secret? In this session we’ll discuss how women can increase their professional/gender identity integration and thus their productivity, negotiation skills and wellbeing at work. I’ll show how we can do this both at an individual level and an organizational level.