By: Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
“Evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men-and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence. Here’s why and what to do about it.”
Confidence in Women
Although women have worked hard and have made great strides including the following:
**Men still get promoted faster and paid more. Women still struggle to make it to top positions. The number of women in top positions is very small and barely increasing.
Women are lacking in confidence, including women who are highly successful in the professional world. There is a vast confidence gap that separates women and men. Compared with men:
*Women don’t consider themselves as ready for promotions.
*Women predict they’ll do worse on tests.
*Women end up going into less competitive fields like human resources or marketing.
*Women generally underestimate their abilities.
*Women feel confident only when they are perfect…or practically perfect.
"The confidence gap is important because success correlates with confidence just as much as it correlates with competence. Having talent isn’t merely about being competent; confidence is a part of that talent, you have to have it to excel."
“Confidence is the stuff that turns thoughts into action. It is the factor that turns thoughts into judgements about what we are capable of, and that then transforms those judgements into action.” –Richard Petty (Psychology professor at Ohio State University who has spent decades studying confidence.)
"Women also suffer from the perfectionism mentality. Women strive to be perfect in all that they do. Women have fixating thoughts on their performance at home, at school, at work, at the gym, and even on vacation. Women have obsessive thoughts about every role in their lives because we want to do them all perfectly, but perfectionism is another confidence killer. Striving to be perfect actually keeps women from getting too much of anything done.
Is this to say that men don’t suffer from thoughts of doubt?
No, men do suffer the occasional thought of doubt, but not with such exacting and repetitive zeal, and they don’t let their doubts stop them. Women often times let their doubt or lack of confidence get in the way of trying. Women can do just as well as men when taking tests or performing in top positions, but they choose not to try because they don’t feel confident in their ability to perform. This is what holds women back. Women avoid taking risks because they fear making mistakes and strive to be perfect. When we hesitate because we aren’t sure (low confidence), we hold ourselves back.
The good news is that we are capable of performing just as well as men do! The evidence is implicit, to become more confident, women need to stop over thinking and just act! The more that we do this, the more confidence we will build. By shifting our thought patterns and behavior, by keeping at it, channeling our talent for hard work, we can make our brains more confident prone."
“What neuroscientists call plasticity, we call hope.”