Thinking about thinking in Women’s Month – a guest contribution

Sagel Kundieko is thinking about thinking
Thinking about thinking. How is female cognition different?

How are women’s brains different to men’s? What does this mean for tutors supporting girls in the classroom? How do women’s own experiences of learning impact on their studies? Final year B Sc student, Sagel Kundieko, posed these questions during Women’s Month.

Sagel spends many hours deep in her books on human anatomy, physiology, and genetics. As a result, her fascination with neuroscience led her to consider women’s brains. She was intrigued to discover that perception, attention, memory, language and executive function operate differently in men and women. Females typically have the upper hand in verbal fluency, perceptual speed, accuracy and fine motor skills. By contrast, males do better in spatial, and working memory.

The thinking woman is aware

Cognitive efficiency in women is due to the fact that the female brain switches more fluently between the left and right hemispheres. Consequently, women process information faster in all sorts of wonderful and productive ways. Let us be curious about our own thinking and awareness and how women can tap into their innate potential to reach their goals.

Thinking about thinking

We think by processing sensory information through neurons in our brains. This gives us our sensory awareness. However, there is a deeper level of awareness. It comes in two aspects; awareness of your environment, and awareness of self.

What’s happening outside yourself?

Awareness of the environment allows us to understand our environment, to engage with it, and to bring about the changes we wish to see. It means that we are able to adapt and apply our minds to change. This becomes particularly important when the environment we find ourselves in is ever changing. This could be the natural changes of ageing, seasonal changes, or unexpected incidents like the unprecedented worldwide lockdown. Because change is inevitable, applying your mind to dealing with change enhances our survival.

What’s happening inside your skin?

Women are capable of occupying all manner of jobs and roles. This remains out of reach if we do not find the internal courage to fulfil our dreams. Applying your mind to changing behaviours that will make a concrete difference enables you to overcome difficulties. In order to discover yourself, fully and truly, try imagining your full capacity. By doing this, you discover the potential that lies within. It should help you carry on when things are difficult. Hopefully, you can realise your own greatness.

How do we recognise our own gifts?

Cultivate your values and embrace the humanity in you. Are you sufficiently aware of your environment? What does it mean to discover ourselves? Awareness requires self-reflection. You cannot adapt to an environment without self-knowledge. We can only know what change we want for our lives if we already know who we are. Change begins within. For that change to happen we must release misconceptions and source new knowledge from our ever-changing environment.

Educate yourself

How do we source new knowledge? What enable us to be more aware of our environment? By listening, we move from the sensory awareness of hearing; we dive deeper and understand. We hear what the world is telling us. Feel the current climate. Read about the things we wish to learn about. Watch documentaries, and speak to people who have more experience. It is all about listening. In King Solomon’s words: “There is nothing new under the sun.” Listen, learn, and – as my mentor says –  be teachable! This way you release the astute woman inside yourself. Learn to deal with change… or else change will deal with you!

Join JumpStart in supporting women’s education

If you would like to support girls and women’s education, please consider a donation to The JumpStart Foundation Trust. We are a Public Benefit Organisation and our goal is to accelerate South African youth into the digital economy through education, qualification and employment. Partner with us and qualify for your SARS Section 18(a) certificate. Email Betty Oliphant for more information.

Author’s bio: Sagel Kundieko

Sagel Kundieko Feature ImageSagel Kundieko, 20, is a final year BSc student at UCT who tutors high school learners. A youth leader at church, she loves to inspire and teach. She thinks deeply about ameliorating the lives of Africans across the continent. On her bedside table is The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Green. She is a startup entrepreneur of Elle Zeka, a small business providing graphic and web design, social media services and  company registration for emerging entrepreneurs.  Follow Elle Zeka on LinkedIn and Sagel on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


Cover image courtesy of Thought Catalog

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