Stop Talking About the Gender Confidence Gap

Stop talking about the gender confidence gap!

I keep hearing a lot about the “confidence gap”.  Premise: women are less confident than men.  I believe those raising the issue are well intended, but I worry about the constant drum beat on this issue for three reasons:

  1. Are we not measuring confidence by what are more traditional “male” standards?
  2. Are we not mis-measuring the confidence of women as a result?
  3. Is not raising the issue reinforcing the stereotype in terms of confidence ?

Rather than talking about the confidence gap, I recommend we talk about the gap in perceptions on how we measure confidence.   



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Hi Jonathan

Thanks for posting this. I appreciate it was a couple of years ago, but I've just come across it today - so there you have it!

I'm not sure I agree with you. The premise of your comment implies there is an absolute measure of confidence - objectively derived and free from bias. It would be great if that were true.

Unfortunately, in many cases, the person deciding (usually unconsciously) on who has the confidence to perform the role is a man... and is measuring confidence based on a male perception of confidence which (generally) aligns more closely with the 'version' of confidence that women appear to lack, relatively.

I do, however, understand your point. So a conversation about what confidence actually is, and whether it correlates with performance or potential would be very welcome!

All the best - always love to come across perspectives that make me think harder!!


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