Breaking the Gender Code

How to use what you already have to get what you actually want


This book explores the codes we live by, so we can break them and create something different.

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breaking the gender code

The code that impacts the lives of women struggling, striving and straddling is the Gender Code.


For many of us, the myths around career and motherhood have fed into the illusion of having it all. The reality is, these Gender Code myths are a barrier to us reaching our potential.

This book puts the Gender Code under the microscope. It scrutinises the equation of productivity + busyness = worthiness and it dismantles outdated motherhood myths.

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Could it be that the things you are trying to achieve, thinking they will save you – work-life balance, me time, having it all, happiness, leaning in, leaning out, shattering the glass ceiling – are actually getting in the way and stopping you from having what you truly want? You are not alone. Your problems are universal. Fortunately, there are solutions.

It’s time to change the way you are thinking & acting

If you want to change, it is crucial to understand ourselves as a society and identify the established cultural beliefs and stereotypes that we have made truth. We can then begin to see them for what they are: myths and stories.

Beginning by interrogating the codes that surround us and the ones you drive yourself, this book then presents a methodology for creating your own, unique code by using what you already have and working out a solution from there.

Rewriting the old story

You have enough internal resources right now. This book shows that all that you do now is valuable and that being a parent or carer is not only having a positive impact on how humans flourish but is also a great career asset.

You don’t need more of anything.

Rather than having it all or having nothing at all, this book reveals a third alternative, based on what is important to you. Understanding and then creating a new code and a new model, is based on using your unique strengths and internal resources, going easy on yourself, striving for excellence rather than perfection, releasing performance pressures, looking after your own well-being and rewarding yourself along the way.

In breaking the Gender Code that is within you, you can build confidence in who you truly are and write your own code. And in writing your own code, you create an environment for the next generation of code breakers.

Latest Reviews

“For years as a working Mum of 3 children I struggled with the guilt of not being the ‘stay at home’ Mum that my Mother was. Instead I had a stellar corporate career which brought our family significant comfort and choice and took me all over the world. Despite the fact that my husband was a wonderful work from home Father and was always there for our daughters, my Mummy guilt pursued me and I never shook the deeply ingrained belief that it was really my job to do all the nurturing and that I somehow had to fit all that in around the edges. No wonder I often felt like a failure.

After reading this book I know why I felt like this and that there is another, better way. Danielle Dobson has written ‘Breaking the Gender Code’ for every woman that has felt the way I have. She has uncovered not only why we feel this way, but also given us a framework for choosing a different path in defining our own code. A code that is unique to us, one that will serve and support us and our families and not damage us with shame and guilt.

If you’re a working Mum please read this book, it could set you free. If you’re interested and invested in supporting working Mums and helping them live into their full potential at home and at work please read this book. If you’re interested in the societal norms that govern our world today, read this book. Breaking the Gender Code can help us all understand what is holding us back from living the lives we really want and empower us to design our own codes, because we are all uniquely and beautifully different.”

Elise Finn, Coach and Advisor

“Danielle Dobson’s book “Breaking the Gender Code: How to use what you already have to get what you actually want“ makes an important contribution to women, families, and society. Like understanding the structures and illusions that allow a magic trick to appear ‘magic’, understanding the gender code helps us see the beliefs and structures that put so much pressure on women.
Thankfully Danielle goes further than that, providing a framework for each of us to envisage, create, and live our own code. This book is powerful! “

Corrinne Armour, Fearless Leadership® Specialist, Speaker, Mentor, Author of ‘Leaders Who Ask’ & ‘Developing Direct Reports’

“I read this book to help me understand the challenges facing the women in my life. I found many of the elements enlightening and am confident it will help me be a more supportive person. The book makes a valuable contribution that helps us think about what is really true about ourselves and others and what are just the things picked up along the way by accident of our sex, culture or nationality. Identifying that these are not intrinsic to us is the first step in being able to make a change. Unexpectedly, as a working co-parent I also found myself identifying with most of the challenges of the “Lean In” generation of mothers and found myself ticking a good portion of the female characteristics which make up the Gender Code.

The most impactful section for me was the last section which helps in identifying how to make the changes in our life, using what the author called the CIRCLE approach. I won’t go through it all but will mention that it starts with determining your Core purpose. This makes a lot of sense as only by knowing the Core purpose will you be able to make the decisions and compromises you need to in your life as you manage the conflicting demands of work and family.

The book is a good reminder that life can be a challenge for women. But whether intentionally or not I think the true message transcends the challenges of being a female and is instead about the challenges of being human, if you strip away the code we are not that much different. Not just for women and mothers, you should buy this book if you are a parent who wants to work how to make a meaningful contribution at work whilst also making the time to develop flourishing little humans.”

Review on Amazon

“What an insightful book! Danielle Dobson’s thorough research of more than 50 top women leaders in business who are also lead parents sheds light on how the gender code play out in our work and home lives. Her framework for writing your own code so that you can feel more engaged and learn to thrive is so valuable. A wonderful book for anyone wanting to find a better way to balance work and family.”

Anna McKay, Leadership Development Coach & Speaker

“The Gender Code dissects the embedded societal beliefs that busyness and productivity equal worthiness. It is a fantastic book for women, especially busy working mums who constantly feel like they are juggling 15 balls all at once. I found it to be an easy read that contains loads of practical advice. I know I will refer back to it again and again, and gain new insights each time.”

Review on Amazon

“Danielle has a warm and personable style that invites the reader in and lets them know they can trust her. I love the way Danielle asks so many questions in the book allowing readers to come up with their own answers.

Every time I dip into your book I think back to my days as a hands-on mum. I think how differently I would have mothered if a book like yours had been available 25-30 years ago. I think too of how my mum mothered and how different things could have been for us kids if she knew this stuff as well.

My childhood and my kid’s childhood were safe and as good as possible given what my mum knew and what I knew. But I’m glad for my grandies who are being raised differently because their parents see life differently.”

Bron Williams, Speaker & Author

“Congratulations on bringing your research in a way that is so clear and relatable. Thanks for taking the time to interview women who are saying so much of what the rest of us are thinking.”

Dr Jodi Richardson, Author & Speaker

“Breaking the Gender Code contains lots of helpful support for women, suggesting ways they can bring their lived experience as mothers to work and their lived work experience to their parenting. Both women and men have missed being human, (being, feeling and doing what is right for us) in falling into the coding and stereotypes that society has provided to us.

Breaking the Gender Code can open our eyes to being part of a more human future.”

Tim Dyke, Executive Coach

“There is so much in your book that I resonate with. I only highlight in books that really have an impact on me and that I want to read again. Your book is getting the highlighter treatment!! This highlighted sentence [“If you realise how important you are, can you dial down the busyness, release some of the pressure and take your focus off productivity?”] has had a great impact on me as its been what I have been trying to do in the last few years and am only now beginning to feel comfortable with having that mindset.

I have a couple of friends with whom I can have some great chats about many things you talk about in your book.

I feel that through talking about our challenges we can support each other and help each other manage our individual challenges.”

Hannah, Medical Professional

“Danielle’s book is like the bible to women issues. So much to unpack, learn – something for everyone. Danielle must’ve spent so much time learning, listening, organizing her thoughts. What powerful knowledge to have? Bravo mama!”

Jade Goranson

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“This book puts the Gender Code under the microscope. It scrutinises the equation of productivity + busyness = worthiness and it dismantles outdated motherhood myths.”