Are Women Lacking The Confidence They Need To Succeed?

Posted on September 2nd, 2014 by Melissa

Confidence-webAs women we have often been taught that if we keep our heads down and play by the rules, our talents will not only be recognized, they will be rewarded.

Empowered Women Have Made Great Strides

In some areas, that has worked well for us. In the U.S., women now earn more college and graduate degrees than men do. We make up half the workforce, and we are working hard to close the gap in management. Backing that up are half a dozen global studies that have found that companies employing women in large numbers outperform their competitors on every single measure of profitability.

As women, we now rank among the richest people in the world, work in every profession and outnumber men in the workplace, can marry and divorce at will, and hold the highest government office in many lands. Our organized efforts have developed the hospitals, schools, museums, libraries and social supports that enrich our communities’ civilized life.

Despite all of that, men are still getting promoted faster and are being paid more. The statistics prove that at the top women are nearly absent, and our numbers are barely increasing. Even in light of all of the advancements we have made, our career trajectories still look very different from the careers of our male counterparts.

What Shifts Our Focus Away From Advancing Our Careers?

Is it maternal instincts or family responsibilities that are shifting our focus away from advancing our careers? Are there cultural and institutional barriers to female success standing in our way? Or could we simply be lacking the confidence we need to succeed?

Claire Shipman and Katty Kay have tackled the elusive nature of confidence since they started working on their 2009 book, Womenomics. During the course of that research they encountered a number of women, all accomplished and credentialed that wrestled with the same issue that many of us face – self doubt.

Self Confidence is Essential to Success

Self doubt or a lack of confidence is a particular crisis for women. In fact, compared with men – who are often overconfident – women don’t consider themselves as ready for promotions, they predict they’ll do worse on tests, and they generally underestimate their abilities. This disparity stems from factors ranging from upbringing to biology.

According to a recent article, this lack of confidence can be devastating. To better understand the confidence gap, and figure out how to close it, read more at The Atlantic.


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