There is research indicating that in many cultures, men have greater self-esteem than women. The University of California’s report, in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, highlights this as being near-universal.
Does this mean the documented gender gap in much of the business world is really a gender confidence gap?
Do Women in Business Lack Confidence?
Often, business feels like a typically male environment, with men holding most top managerial roles and only 25% of FTSE directors being female.
However, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) points out that around 20% of single-person businesses, and 18% of small businesses in the UK are majority women-led. Women’s entrepreneurship does play a significant role.
In other words, perception plays a big part here. How women see themselves in business is a contributing factor to their advancement, and prominence, or lack of it.
There are external factors that also count, such as the demands of childbirth and parenthood, and family concerns; alongside embedded sexism and gender-bias in some organisations.
But these factors combined with an undermining lack of self-esteem are helping to keep the glass ceiling in place.
A lack of confidence can feel like something very basic, to the extent where it appears elusive and hard to pin down.
But, people can change how they think at some fundamental level. Established thought patterns are not fixed forever.
Neurosurgeons talk about the plasticity of the brain; how it modifies its own structure and function in response to physical demands, and changes in the external environment.
The main consequence of a lack of self-confidence is inaction. People become stuck, and, to an extent, their low self-esteem becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more stuck they appear to be, the less confident they feel, and the less likely they are to act to make changes.
To break the cycle means looking at how people’s thought patterns work and what things trigger a sense of low self-esteem.
If low confidence means inaction, it follows that creating confidence can create a springboard for action, so that inner change is also projected outwardly.
Creating confidence brings about measurable improvements for women in business.
Discover how to build your confidence and accelerate your growth. Contact Ayuda for more details.