What is the ‘confidence gap’ and how can it impact my career?
Yesterday I heard an interesting interview on CBC Radio’s The Current with journalists/authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, whose new book, The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance — What Women Should Know, discusses their take on why the infamous glass ceiling still exists. The ‘confidence gap’ concept was developed by Kay and Shipman, and is a result of their research and interviews, which are described in the book. They report that a lack of confidence and a high level of insecurity limits women’s progression in their careers, particularly as compared to those of men.
A part of the interview that stuck with me was when Kay and Shipman reflected on the perceptions of self-confidence held by female senior executives and seasoned politicians. They mentioned that as Hilary Clinton was thinking of running for Senate the first time, the main barrier she faced was a lack of confidence. She realized she was being held back by a fear of getting in the race because she might not win.
Then, a high school basketball coach in New Jersey said to her, “Dare to compete, Mrs. Clinton.” These simple words are what it took for Hilary Clinton to launch her political career, as she realized that the worst that could have happened would be to have lost.
After hearing the rest of the interview, I couldn’t help but reflect on Clinton’s experience and think to myself, “Would a man have had this same fear holding him back?”
Check out the full The Current interview online. The authors have also developed a quiz you can take that will help to reveal the factors that determine confidence, as well as the links between self-esteem and confidence. Take the quiz here.
What do you think about the ‘confidence gap’? Does it exist?