Let me be perfectly clear, this blog is not a political statement. With that in mind and in light of a history making election where we saw the first woman run for the highest office in the United States, I thought it would be a very relevant time to address the challenges women in leadership roles face.
It might seem like an idea that comes from a bygone era. A time when women were little more than an adornment on the arm of a man. While women have gained a lot of ground since those days, there is still a great deal of disparity between the accomplishments of women vs. men. This despite the fact that The Atlantic reports organizations who employ a large number of female staff members outperform their competitors on every measure of profitability. And still women are not seeing the same career trajectory as men.
The Atlantic article goes on to say “There is a particular crisis for women–a vast confidence gap that separates the sexes. Compared with men, women don’t consider themselves as ready for promotions, they predict they’ll do worse on tests, and they generally underestimate their abilities.” An article in The Guardian calls this confidence gap “imposter syndrome.” It notes that many women in high level positions feel like they are simply “winging it.” They base their success on luck rather than skill and they fear that they will be found out and labeled as the imposter they believe have made themselves out to be.
Additionally, women typically make less money than their male counterparts. Many times, this is not because of the HR department offer, but because they are unwilling to negotiate for higher pay. On average, women negotiate for $7,000 less than their male counterparts, because they feel they are not deserving of a higher amount.
So, why do women tend to feel less confident than men? Some researchers suggest it has a lot to do with biology. The male brain is comprised of more grey matter which allows them to be more analytical, while women have more white matter which gives them higher multi-tasking abilities. These distinct differences make women focus more inward and men more focused on initiative. Women tend to read emotions more clearly causing their brains to consistently question their place in the world. The interesting part of this equation is that women actually are phenomenal negotiators on behalf of another individual. They tend to be more team driven than men, which allows them to be more qualified champions for their peers.
Self-esteem seems to play into the lack of confidence women demonstrate. A recent study from the University of California, reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that “regardless of culture or country, men have higher self-esteem than women.” Interestingly though, the study, which analyzed data from over 985,000 men and women across 48 countries, found that women in western societies tend to have a lower self-esteem than other cultures. Researchers note that this could be based on gender biases in some cultures. In western societies, women are more likely to compare themselves to men, while in eastern cultures the comparison is typically women comparing themselves to other women.
Regardless of why there are comparisons, the sad fact of the matter is that women simply do not give themselves due credit for their amazing skills and abilities. At Academy of Leadership Coaching & NLP, we are passionate about helping all leaders discover their self-worth and remove the barriers that are blocking them from achieve the next levels in their professional journey.
With this in mind, in the coming months, we will be unveiling details regarding our new coaching leadership programs in partnership with Devi Cavitt Razo, Womens Leadership Consultant and former Hoffman Process Director and, geared specifically to the needs of women in leadership. Does this sound like something you would like to hear more about? Contact us for more information