Are Women Holding Themselves Back?

In today’s society, if you were to ask people if gender inequality was outdated, most people would nod their head vigorously and agree that “Yes, of course it is”.

But how true is this in business? Did you know that despite women now accounting for 47% of our workforce, statistics imply that men still hold the clear majority of high profile jobs, and women are not paid or rewarded equally to their male colleagues? Shocking, isn’t it?

However, companies are beginning to recognise the competitive advantages that come from promoting talented women into positions of power, and global companies are hiring Talent Directors to attract and retain more women into their organisations. And there is a multitude of reasons for this! 69% of companies who implement gender diversity policies report an improvement in brand image, and studies have shown that the link between women in the workplace and a country’s economic growth is closely connected.

But what if women are also holding themselves back in business, contributing to the inequality? Are professional women losing out on thousands of pounds worth of income in their lifetime because they simply do not believe they can equal their male colleagues? Perhaps some women believe that it’s easier and safer to stick with what they know, to maintain the status-quo?

Of course, men suffer from low self-esteem too, all human-beings doubt themselves at some point in their lives. But are women more prone to self-doubt and low confidence when it comes to going for that promotion or putting themselves forward in the boardroom? Women are known to over-analyse situations in their head, anticipate an ending, and conclude that, no, there are too many reasons why they shouldn’t go for that job, despite initially thinking how perfect it was for them!

Of course, it is completely ‘normal’ for people to doubt themselves, to question themselves, and conclude that they are not good enough. BUT admitting this flaw doesn’t have to mean they are setting themselves up to fail. Nothing builds confidence more than addressing a problem, owning the self-doubt, and pushing yourself right smack back into the middle of it! What’s the worse that can happen? You bomb in that interview, you don’t get that new job, that promotion, you stay in your current position……..and you try again next time.

How wonderful would it be, if in 10 years from now, those statistics and studies that show men dominating senior level roles and high-profile jobs, were a thing of the past – and equality reigned. Imagine if women helped to change those statistics simply by believing that they were good enough! Perhaps the only way to build confidence and courage is by acting with it.

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

― Suzy Kassem

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