Is there a gender confidence gap?

leadership market insights Mar 08, 2023

Is there a gender confidence gap?

That’s certainly the argument we often hear. For example, women are still far less likely than men to start their own business, and it’s often said that’s because they lack the confidence to take the leap into entrepreneurship.

Well, I’ve worked with female entrepreneurs for the last 20 years and, one thing I can tell you is that there is no lack of ambition when it comes to women wanting to do it for themselves.

In fact, some of today’s most memorable entrepreneurs are women – think Whitney Wolfe, Oprah Winfrey and even (love them or hate them) the likes of Kylie Jenner. But these women are the exception, not the rule.

It isn’t as simple as just telling women to ‘be more confident’ though. We need to recognise the barriers they still face.

When we’re talking about the reasons for a lack of female entrepreneurs or business leaders, we need to factor in the barriers they continue to face on a daily basis.

Even 50 years after the Equal Pay Act, the corporate world is not a level playing field. While female salaries are starting to level out, they still do not match the male equivalent, and board rooms in almost every sector are places noticeably bereft of women.

Struggling against this male-dominated working environment has taken its toll.

In my experience it can leave women overlooked for promotions, less tapped into professional networks and less likely to take risks than their male colleagues.

So let’s stop telling women to be more confident. And start looking at the system that’s denting their ambition.

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