Women aren’t confident but it’s neither genetic nor their fault

A study released in 2011 by Europe’s Institute of Leadership and Management revealed that women report having lower confidence in their careers: “Men were more confident across all age groups, with 70% of males having high or very high levels of self-confidence, compared to 50% of the women surveyed. Half of women managers admitted to feelings of self-doubt about their performance and career, but only 31% of men reported the same. The study also found that this lack of confidence extends to a more cautious approach to applying for jobs and promotions: 20% of men said they would apply for a role despite only partially meeting its job description, compared to 14% of women.”

So why are we surprised? From the day women are born, they are told that they are not quite as good as men. We ask them to live and work in organisations and at home where patriarchy prevails. Women are not only underpaid and under-valued but continually told that they must be more like men if they want to succeed. I know from years of experience and research that it’s extraordinarily difficult to feel confident when you never feel quite good enough, you just don’t fit in and no one wants to be with you. I think I would be much more confident if I lived in a world  where I felt included and valuable.

The original HBR article can be found at: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/10/four_ways_women_stunt_their_careers.html

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