Why Women Lack Self Confidence

Would you imagine the greatest women of history to doubt themselves? When they have accomplished more than they could imagine, would you consider them to have moments of doubts about their abilities and success?

Here are some of the best women of our times on the subject of their success:

Clarie Shipman, CNN correspondent in Moscow when asked about how she ended up in a position as her believes she just got “lucky” and was at the right place at the right time.

Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay Social says she often feels like an “imposter” at work.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of ‘Lean in’ writes, “There are still days I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.”

There are countless examples of women displaying extraordinary talent everywhere, everyday. We are sportswomen, we are scientists, we are pilots, we are authors, we are leaders. Hell, we are entrepreneurs. But yet, we continue to doubt ourselves from time to time. Why, when our names have gone down in history, there is always a small, inside voice whispering that we don’t deserve it. When our successes speak volumes about us why do we choose to downplay ourselves?

The root of this dilemma lies in the nurture and upbringing. Remember the good old school days? The girls are always the well behaved, well maintained, neat and clean. Dweck says. “They get a lot of praise for being perfect.” They are the ones who are rewarded for being the “good girl” at school. Who likes the rowdy, unkempt boys getting into fist fights, right? Well, this is where the tables turn.

What seems like the fact that girls are benefiting, is actually the reverse. The result from this behavior is that the girls begin to learn that they are going to be valued and favored for doing things the right way: neatly and quietly. They begin to crave for this attention. The consequence is that they stop taking risks, making mistakes. This is bad news for the women. According to psychologists risk taking, failure, and perseverance are one of the building blocks to confidence building. Boys, on the other hand are used to disappointment and punishment. They absorb criticism. “When we observed in grade school classrooms, we saw that boys got eight times more criticism than girls for their conduct,” Dweck writes in Mindset. The two sexes receive different patterns of feedback from their peers. “Boys’ mistakes are attributed to a lack of effort,” she says, while “girls come to see mistakes as a reflection of their deeper qualities.”

The girls leave schools minds crammed with history dates, war names and maybe a pretty handwriting. While it is perfectly okay for to know your dates, what the women are missing out is that pretty manners are not essential to survive in the workplace. Basically, they are stuck in a world which doesn’t reward them for being the “good girl”. What really matters is building your confidence, taking risks, making mistakes and learning from them.

The natural consequence of low self confidence is holding yourself back. Not because we can’t do it, but because we believe we can’t do it. Imagine the number of great opportunities you will miss, because you choose to inhibit and downplay yourself. What we women should learn is that we are every bit as talented, exceptional and commendable as our men counterparts.  So stop thinking about it and just do it!

And here is the first step to prove yourself: Register at!


Written by HerCareer is a career community of women seeking consult, inspiration, and the tools needed to succeed in the workplace.