I have a 17-month-old baby. He knows about three words and the newest one is “bye-bye.” Instead of a traditional New Year’s resolution, this year I’m inspired by his newest word to LOSE something in 2019 instead of adding anything. On the chopping block for me this year is the attribute that statistically plagues most women and prevents them from competing, achieving or just generally feeling like a winner: INSECURITY.
There are the obvious emotional reasons to dislike insecurity, but there are also very compelling evidence-based ones as well. Various studies on why women are so under-represented in leadership roles in government, the corporate world and even technology jobs all conclude that what’s holding women back is...themselves. Or, more specifically, how we view ourselves and our abilities.
Let’s look at the stats. Despite the refrain in the popular Beyonce song about “who run[s] the world?,” the answer is not: “Girls.” According to an article by the Center for American Progress, “[In 2019, women will] represent only 24 percent of members of Congress: 24 percent of the House and 23 percent of the Senate. They will hold 28 percent of seats in state legislatures. They will represent only 18 percent of governors; and, as of August 2018, only 23 percent of the mayors of the 100 largest American cities.”
Forbes reports that, “there are now less than two dozen female CEOs among today’s S&P 500 companies.” And, data compiled by a virtual event solutions company reports that, “women make up less than 20% of U.S. tech jobs,” while comprising half of the US workforce.
Ladies, Insecurity Must Go
Here’s just a few pieces of evidence proving why we should all say bye-bye to insecurity in 2019:
A 2014 "Confidence Gap" article by the Atlantic says, “In studies, men overestimate their abilities and performance, and women underestimate both, but their performances do not differ in quality.”
The Atlantic article says, “Do men doubt themselves sometimes? Of course. But they don’t let their doubts stop them as often as women do….Brescoll [professor at Yale’s School of Management] said with a laugh, ‘because the men go into everything just assuming that they’re awesome and thinking, Who wouldn’t want me?’”
A New York Times article, bluntly titled, “The Problem for Women Is Not Winning. It’s Deciding to Run,” reports, "Senator Susan Collins of Maine has talked with many Republican women who were considering running, and she said lack of confidence had come up more than any other issue. 'I have never ever had a male potential candidate say to me that he wasn’t ready, that he didn’t feel prepared enough,' she said. 'Over and over again, I have had potential female candidates say to me that they just don’t feel they’re quite ready, that they need more experience.'"
A Forbes article by Margie Warrell concludes, “Too often women overestimate the risks and underestimate themselves. Only by doing the very things we’re afraid of can we come to realize how little reason we ever had to fear. The only way to build confidence and courage is by acting with it.” (Forbes, 2016)
What’s in Your Future this Year?
Ladies, what would your 2019 look like without any pesky insecurities? What job goals would you strive for? Relationship goals? Health goals? A few things come to mind for me and I’m excited to see what happens. Join me in using the too-often underappreciated “bye-bye” for insecurity in 2019!