It has been amazing to spend time and network with brilliant and achieved women at our Women in Digital & Data launch series both in Johannesburg and Cape Town. It is always refreshing to see women coming together with common goals of equipping and empowering each other but, most importantly, encouraging one another.
One of the topic that resonated louder was confidence, or the lack thereof, in women in STEM fields at both events. More often than not women underestimate the power of confidence and how it affects the workplace and their careers. Having women at the Women in Digital & Data discussing the topic of confidence and going in depth, highlighted the fact that this issue is something rarely confronted, yet it plays a major role in the level of success that is achieved within the first five years of their careers.
A lack of confidence is more common among women than men
And it can be a powerful brake on their careers. 63% of women enter the workforce with the confidence that they can rise to senior management, compared with 75% of men, according to a 2016 survey of 8,400 adults by Bain & Co. and LinkedIn. By mid-career, only 57% of women still feel that way, compared with 66% of men, says Julie Coffman, a Bain partner and lead author of the study.
Women often hesitate to seize opportunities or ask for promotions without their managers’ support, they often assume that mastering their jobs will be enough to advance but what they should truly ask themselves is “How do I position myself in a way that allows me to look and feel confident?” and this includes describing their accomplishments with enthusiasm.
Lower aspiration and confidence levels undermine important career-building behaviours, including the willingness to seize opportunities that will help propel a woman’s career. The 2018’ speaker panel of the Women in Digital & Data advice that women have to be hungrier. They have to be more confident, show more commitment, more resilience and more momentum in their job. It's important to go about business as usual regardless of whether the female to male ratio is 1:1 or 1:5. Women are just as qualified as every other person involved in their team, and they can’t allow themselves to feel insecure or out of place simply because of their gender.
For women to rise, we must close the confidence gap and Women in Digital and Data forum was the perfect platform to start the discussion and explore strategies that will drive change.
To find out how you can bridge the confidence gap and network with like-minded people at Women in Digital & Data, click here...