Mind the Confidence Gap

Doubting our abilities can stop us in our tracks. We can all probably pinpoint a time when we've given up on something, out of fear, and ended up missing out. This can be especially debilitating for women.

Co-authors of the book, The Confidence Gap, The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, revealed that  confidence struggles particularly damage women’s careers.

A chronic lack of confidence among women leads them continually to underestimate their abilities, fail to put themselves forward for promotion, and predict they won’t perform well when faced with challenges - far more so than their male counterparts.

In one example, a study by Hewlett-Packard found women only considered going for that promotion when they were 100% confident they fulfilled all job requirements. Men were happy to apply with only 60% of the requirements fulfilled.

Even the expected income of graduate students differed, with women expecting on average 20% less pay than their male counterparts. A 2003 study by psychologists Dunning and Ehrlinger concluded men overestimate their abilities and performance, while women underestimate both.


And a lack of confidence is negatively impacting not just women, applies but also girls. Early in 2018 a Florida State University study argued a lack of confidence, not a deficiency in their academic abilities, kept them back from pursuing math and science. This then leads to fewer women in STEM jobs: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


Cameron Anderson, a psychologist in the business school at the University of California, studies overconfidence. His conclusion? Confidence “matters just as much as competence”. “When people are confident, when they think they are good at something, regardless of how good they actually are, they display a lot of confident verbal and non-verbal behaviour,” he says in The Atlantic.

Another critical piece of research: tests performed by Milan research psychologist, Zachary Estes, show women performed more poorly than men during the study mainly because they didn’t even attempt many questions. When Estes made it compulsory to complete every question, the performance was actually equal.

“What held them [women] back in this study, “says Kay and Shipman. “was the choice they made not to try.”

For everyone, the first step is awareness. The next step? Action.

You can change the way you think. And then you can change the way you act. And then you can change your life. Cultivate confidence and create your future - it’s your choice.

(Picture from the National Photo Company Collection)


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.