2 introduction affects my entire worldview and is directly related to feelings of empow- erment or powerlessness. For example, most recently I have been participating in some important meetings at work. Early on in one of them, I realized that when surrounded by scholarly men who appear to be older than I am, I started to feel like an eight-year-old girl and became intimidated to the point of paralyzed silence. Indeed, I felt like an idiot and was terrified to voice any opinion. After the first meeting, I shared these realizations with female colleagues, who, although they expressed dis- similar feelings, were most understanding and accepting of mine. At following meetings in the days ahead, with awareness of my emotional issues attuned and available, I was able to overcome my discomfort and thus participate, making contributions that were professional and productive. Where do I begin to think about how I developed my identity as a woman? I start with thinking about how significant adults in my life influenced my development in my earliest years and helped me shape my identity as a woman. UnderstandinG the Male inFlUences in My liFe My father was fifty-five when I was born. Growing up I experienced him as an old man, a grandfather-type figure. He was quiet and gentle and laughed nervously. He has been dead for over twenty-five years and yet on Father’s Day I often think about him. My parents divorced when I was four and from then on until I left home at eighteen, I lived with my mother and stepfather, visiting my father on weekends and some- times taking a short trip or vacation together. My stepfather commu- nicated with me mainly through teasing and joking. His relationship with my mother was volatile and passionate. I did not think of him as a father figure, but rather was afraid to bother him with my presence. For example, he would constantly tease me about how much I ate or talked. I felt trivialized and small with him. Neither man was a role model or father figure for me. And so, I chose my brother. Although he was only six years older than I was, my mother adored him, and I decided, very early on, that it was wise to adore whatever or whomever she adored. It just made life easier somehow, or so I thought. He became for me the epitome of