The “Confidence Gap” is keeping the status quo alive. Here’s what we can ALL do.
“If women were more confident, they’d be more successful.”
The Truth: This so-called confidence gap keeps the status quo alive and strong. It puts allll the attention (and burden) on women. It fuels inadequacy. It says “success is waiting for you, if – and only if – you step up and speak up.” (lie)
We live and work in a system that is still predominantly designed and maintained by (and for) white men.
- When we evaluate women on “executive presence” – who do we compare her to?
- When we hear a woman promote her accomplishments – what gut reaction do we have?
- When we get to 30% women representation – why do we call it good?
- When none of the decision makers are women of color – why do we make excuses for it?
- When we are asked to draw a leader – why do so many of us draw men?
We find ourselves in a “yes/and” situation.
YES – the system is filled with backlash, is F-ed, needs to change, and IS changing!)
AND – WE can ALL change it by doing our part to:
- build self-promotion skills and help others to do the same (Talking about our work is 100% part of our careers.)
- negotiate our salaries/rates even when it feels uncomfortable (and encourage salary transparency at your work)
- support BIWOC (Black, Indigenous, Women of Color) however we can (here’s a list of 7 ways)
- give resources to our managers around gender and racial bias and follow-up with them about it
- say something when we hear discriminatory comments, including “Tell me more…”
- run for office
- quit jobs/clients that no longer serve us
- apply for a job and/or promotion that makes us nervous (& encourage woman to apply)
- put a stop to our self-deprecating humor
- use disclaimers like “I know women who negotiate can be judged harshly” and then advocate for our worth anyway
- raise kiddos who lead with kindness and know their worth
- dig into (and share) what makes us remarkable everyday
- protect our precious time from energy vampires
- question the wage gap at work
- start the meeting with everyone sharing a WIN to normalize self-promotion
- amplify women’s achievements & build up the women and LGBTQ+ folks in our lives
- audit our social media feeds to ensure we’re accessing diverse perspectives
It’s easy to accept the simplified explanation of the “confidence gap” and move on. To be honest, there was a time when I did. Make sure you know the whole story.