Are you a 21st Century Renaissance Woman?

8 Apr

How often have you heard about the renaissance man? Da Vinci was certainly one of them – he’d mastered several area from science, art, physical fitness, writing and more.  But what about the renaissance woman?

What’s she like? I suppose women in Da Vinci’s time had a far harder time ‘mastering’ what was seen as valuable in those days. Sure, women could probably raise six children, cook the meals, have energy to keep the house clean, and somehow navigate the problems of her family . . . but that wouldn’t get anyone any kind of recognition of being ‘successful’. Only the very fortunate (and rich) with open-minded fathers were allowed an education. And even then, very few women were known for the renaissance qualities.

Well, let’s just flashback to one of the few recognized renaissance women. Her name is Isabella D’Este, and she was a fashion leader, art patron, diplomat writer and actually had sketches done by Da Vinci for an intended portrait. Isabella was a successful (and rich) woman, without doubt, but it cost her in terms of how much she could manage her home and take care of her family. In fact, her husband could be said to have played a more ‘homemaker’ role (homemaker for the very, very right – which I suspect doesn’t involve scrubbing any floors) than Isabella, and that created tension between them.

(Even back then in 1400s women were torn between success and family. You know what, I’ve felt the same way. In the past, I’ve been in relationships where I am finally more successful than the men I’ve dated, and even in our modern world it’s been uncomfortable. Is that changing as more women rise up the ladder, or are we protesting against some inevitable & ingrained role that’s beyond our control to alter?

For instance, can a woman put ‘homemaker’ on her resume without being looked down upon? Sure, she might put it alongside award-winning debater, president of her multi-million company, international thought-leader . . . but throw in ‘makes an incredible lemon meringue pie’ and people might just chuckle and shake their head – as if pie didn’t matter!)

So let’s jump forward to today. In this post, let’s assert that all areas of mastery are valid, whether they are for the business world, self-interest, the home, or whatever. With that stated, I’d like to invite you to imagine the renaissance woman of the 21st century.

Are you a renaissance woman? Don’t be too quick to say, ‘no’ – just think about it a little bit more. . .

Here’s my personal definition:

“The modern renaissance woman is curious to life, the senses, and new potential – mastering and exploring  the whole body-mind-spirit experience that includes the logical and the imagination. She is always curious, always learning and able to master both old and new skills.”

So how do you see yourself fitting into this category. If women really are the wonderful multi-taskers we’re known to be . . . then we all must have a little renaissance within us, no?

Here’s your Sister Leadership challenge: tell me what you’re good at, from business, to home, to hobbies. Surprise me. Maybe you have a black belt. Maybe you speak 4 languages. Maybe you’ve travelled through the earth’s atmosphere? (Very cool if you did!) And how do you balance between the different parts of the mind, from logical to imaginative, scientific to artistic?

Are you a renaissance woman? Are there any renaissance women you know and admire?

We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Till next time,


Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, bringing her knowledge of resilience, perseverance, and changing perception to others. Camille is currently accepting applications for the Women’s Executive Network  Senior Executives Wisdom Peer Mentoring program. Applications to this exciting and knowledge-sharing program are available here.

Read more from Camille as she aspires to  help women explode their success. For more posts and experiences, join Camille at her Sister Leadership page, connect on Twitter, and follow on Facebook.


One Response to “Are you a 21st Century Renaissance Woman?”

  1. Dorothy April 11, 2013 at 06:59 #

    No doubt, I would be considered a Renaissance Woman…or a jack of all trades and a Master of none! Actually, I am a Master Photographer, a published author, a lifelong gardener, a dental hygienist and now a Trainer. Earlier in life, I was an architect, designing my own home and then a construction worker when my owner-built home was manifest with the help of friends and family. My greatest creative effort however, was to finance and raise my two sons for 12 of their formative years alone. I consider this to be my greatest success as they are fine young men today, and I have survived to tell about it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: