Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Women Can Close the Confidence Gap

My topic on WKYB this morning.

Last week I wrote about women selecting for confident men.

This week we look at the other side of that coin - why women are often less confident in their own abilities than they should be.

I blogged about this "imposter syndrome" previously, drawing on Susan Pinker's The Sexual Paradox. 

More recently, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, two very high achieving television journalists, wrote about The Confidence Gap.  Women are more likely to read their failures as reasons not to do that thing again, whereas men are likely to see failures as learning experiences.  Women are more likely to ruminate on what they did wrong and whether other people noticed, while men are likely to move on and not dwell on it.  Women are more likely to hold back from trying new and bigger tasks until they feel 100% prepared, while men are likely to seek opportunities even if they only feel 60% prepared because they are confident in their abilities to figure new things out.

Moreover, women are likely to read men's expressions of confidence as they would read women - that is, if men seem fully confident, they must be fully prepared.  Women are more likely to apologize for their preparation, and attribute their success to luck no matter how prepared and competent they actually are.