Closing the Confidence Gap Between Men and Women

It is no secret. Men, statistically, are more confident than women in most aspects of life. For this reason, women are taught that if they want to be successful, they have to act like a man.

I’m here to tell you that confidence and success are not synonymous with masculinity. There is power in feminine energy, but in today’s patriarchal society, feminine energy is seen as an ineffective weakness.

Masculine energy is characterized as: aggressive, logical, protective, competitive, decisive, and ambitious.

Feminine energy, on the other hand, is: intuitive, collaborative, emotional, nurturing, magnetic, and creative.

In reality, most lasting success is achieved through a balance of the two.

But why are women comparatively less confident to men?

Athletics is a great confidence builder as it teaches one how to try again to become better after a loss. Males are more likely to play sports and receive glory for it that females are.

In academics, STEM fields are comprised of 76% males while women gravitate towards social sciences and literary arts which is less competitive and requires more intuition than logic.

On the fundamental level, we live in a patriarchal society where men are told to be ambitious and chase women. On the flip side, women are taught to be attractive, quiet, neat, and perfect for the approval of their parents, relationships, and teachers, which later becomes a disadvantage once we realize the world requires less perfectionism and more action.

This disparity in upbringing is the reason why more women grow self-conscious and more men grow self-confident.

Don’t believe me? Observe the students who are more responsive in your classroom. Women are 75% less likely to speak in they are in the minority, while men will tend to speak at the same rate no matter the demographics of the class.

How does the confidence gap affect women’s success?

Time and time again, women will value themselves less than men will in every instance. This even shows up in the gender-wage gap.

In a study done by Linda Babcock, professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University, “Men initiate salary negotiations 4x as often as women, and when women do negotiate, they ask for 30% less than women do.”

Women so often downplay their success and attribute them to things like luck or the help of other people. Though it may or may not be true, it negatively affects the rate at which they get hired and promoted compared to males.

While most women will only apply for a job after they meet 100% of the requirements, men will settle for 60% qualification.

Despite this, companies that hire a greater percentage of women reportedly outperform competing companies financially.

How do we build confidence in ourselves and our daughters?

Confidence is an exercise. The more you do it, the stronger it gets.

  1. Encourage risk-taking and fear-facing in all women (karaoke, applying for a new job, approaching a gut first, etc).
  2. Put yourself in instances where you may fail. Failure teaches you to regroup and improve while also diminishes their impact so that it becomes less and less scary or shameful.

         3. Don’t be afraid to try new things! Join a competitive sports team. Apply for a surplus of jobs even if you're not completely qualified. Join a organization that teaches leadership and public speaking like Toastmasters. You may even be surprised with how much success you experience from taking bold steps.

         4. Be unapologetically authentic. You do not have to be like anyone to be a success. Be yourself boldly and without apology.