The female ‘confidence gap’ is a sham

Jessica Valenti,, Wednesday 23 April 2014 12.30 BST

Women’s lack of confidence could be just a keen understanding of just how little society values

When women still face substantive inequities, why are Katty Kay and Claire Shipman arguing that what we really need is more self-esteem? Photograph: Alamy

Despite an ongoing, glaring lack of equality for women in culture and in policy, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman’s new book, The Confidence Code, argues that what’s truly holding women back is their own self-doubt. In fact, Kay and Shipman dismiss the importance of institutional barriers upfront, writing in the introduction that, while there’s truth behind concerns about sexism, the “more profound” issue is women’s “lack of self-belief”. Think Lean In meets The Secret.

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The Hidden Brain: How Ocean Currents Explain Our Unconscious Social Biases

by Maria Popova

Those who travel with the current will always feel they are good swimmers; those who swim against the current may never realize they are better swimmers than they imagine.

Biases often work in surreptitious ways — they sneak in through the backdoor of our conscience, our good-personhood, and our highest rational convictions, and lodge themselves between us and the world, between our imperfect humanity and our aspirational selves, between who we believe we are and how we behave. Those stealthy inner workings of bias are precisely what NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam explores in The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives (public library) — a sweeping, eye-opening, uncomfortable yet necessary account of how our imperceptible prejudices sneak past our conscious selves and produce “subtle cognitive errors that lay beneath the rim of awareness,” making our actions stand at odds with our intentions and resulting in everything from financial errors based on misjudging risk to voter manipulation to protracted conflicts between people, nations, and groups.

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Diversity & Inclusion, the Key Success Factor For The Human Race

When I was watching the TED talk of Matt Ridley: When Ideas Have Sex, I got the insight that the interaction between people beyond their own family is one of the differentiating factors that explain the success of Human Beings compared to other species, amongst others the Neanderthalers.

In fact Diversity & Inclusion makes it possible to leverage the collective know-how in the Human Race and give access to systems and solutions that are impossible for a single human being or its’ family to completely understand, build and leverage.

The ability to interact, share and transact with people not of your kin make Human Beings unique and the most successful species on earth. Let’s celebrate this, but also realise that approximately 80 % of humanity have no access to this interacting, knowledge and technology sharing network. So, there is a lot of work to do and a big opportunity waiting for us all.

About Matt Ridley:

At TEDGlobal 2010, author Matt Ridley shows how, throughout history, the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. It’s not important how clever individuals are, he says; what really matters is how smart the collective brain is.

Matt Ridley argues that, through history, the engine of human progress and prosperity has been, and is, “ideas having sex with each other.”

How Big Is Your Gender Mindbug?

Nowadays many companies have the best intentions to improve gender balance in the top management positions. But after quite some years of good intentions, the results are often painfully small. That is a pity since over and over again a strong correlation is shown between gender balance and success of teams and organisations. Why is it is that managers fail to create more gender balance in their organisations?

Over the last years, I have been involved in creating gender balance and an inclusion culture in a number of organisations. I learned that one of the biggest obstacles is NOT the existence of prejudice that men are better in management then women. Over 95 % of the men and women in a study by Direction indicate that men and women are equally capable of leadership.

The biggest obstacle for reaching gender balance is an unconscious bias (a so-called mindbug) that is wide-spread in men and women. This mindbug makes 77% of men and 64% of women unconsciously prefer men over women when it comes to appointing managers and leaders.

A few years I developed a mindbug test for gender and leadership to measure this mindbug. So, if you want to have an indication of how big your mindbug is, give it a try.

Stop your mindbugs making decisions for you!

If you want to manage your mindbug, you have to start measuring it!

Go to Measure My Mindbug

Become Aware of Your Unconscious Biases