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Exploring The Confidence Gap

Oprah Winfrey once remarked, “It is confidence in our bodies, minds, and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures.” Confidence. It is a word that is thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean to be confident? Women often equate confidence to competence; you can only achieve it after years of hard work and perfection. Yet, when it comes to the workplace, despite women being some of the most competent and hard-working people in the office, they drastically lag behind their male counterparts in confidence. This is what has come to be known as “the confidence gap,” a gap that exists between the confidence levels of women and men. This gap explains why men apply for jobs and promotions when they believe they have 60% of the credentials while women only apply once they believe they have achieved 100% (Kay, Katty, and Claire Shipman, 2015). This gap intrigued me so much that once I read about it in The Atlantic, I knew I would have to report Katty and Shipman’s findings to the women of WLI. I thought it would be relatable to members, especially since a great majority of us plan to be career women. Little girls are often praised for their obedience and for being smart, meanwhile little boys have the freedom to act out and learn not to fear taking a chance. When those same little girls go on to take leadership roles in clubs at school, their innovative ideas are overlooked by their “bossiness.” By the time those little girls grow up to become successful women, they have lost their confidence and no longer speak up out of fear of being called out of name or being wrong. Our systems are failing our little girls; so how do we help them and ourselves? Luckily, confidence can be acquired, and the molds that society laid out for us are not the ones we have to force ourselves to fit in. My talk concluded with tips on how we can become more confident women. Some of them included being gracious with yourself and overcoming fear (Blatt, 2017). As people who have only been praised for achievements, it is time to realize that failure is important and essential if you plan to grow outside of your comfort zone. It is okay to fail and to say the wrong answers, because the next time, you won’t make those same mistakes. Overall, I hoped my leadership talk encouraged our members to reflect on themselves and embark on a new journey to become more confident women.


- Blatt, Ashleigh. “How to Be a Strong, Confident Woman.” Thrive Global, July 31, 2017.

- Kay, Katty, and Claire Shipman. “The Confidence Gap.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, August 26, 2015.


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