Gender stereotypes have held women back for decades. A strong determined woman who goes out into the world and doesn’t take no for an answer defies these stereotypes, and society cannot handle a woman who knows what she wants and takes no prisoners. Women are judged differently to men, thats nothing we didn’t know already. Whether it be for our opinions, our actions, even down to our appearance there’s a harsh inequality between us and our male counterparts. Is it any wonder we lack confidence, and continue to doubt ourselves in most (if not all) aspects of our lives? We as women are a powerful force of nature, and its about time we tackled our confidence issues head-on.
For centuries women have been taught to mind their manners, play by the rules, and conform to the caregiver role taking care of children, house, and home. While there’s nothing wrong with being a caregiver, its another obstacle thats in the way of women reaching true confidence. Living by this legacy makes it hard for women to determine their value and know their sense of self-worth. Women take care of others at the expense of taking care of themselves, and we still continue to doubt ourselves and feel as if we’re never doing enough. Who created these unrealistic standards we hold ourselves too, and why is this now the norm?
Over the course of our lives we as women have been trained to keep quiet, to apologise for things that aren’t our fault, and to not take too many risks. Women are less likely to talk openly about their accomplishments because more often than not when they do, they’re penalised. Women are continuously passed over for promotions and leaderships roles, and the gender pay gap is just one form of inequality we see across the workplace and home. With all of this to contend with, is it any wonder women doubt themselves far more than men? Women often have to make difficult choices about what they want from life. We have to tread a fine line between going after the career we’ve always wanted and having that corner office, or staying at home to take care of our families and keep house. This isn’t a choice women should have to make in the first place.
Entire industries are profiting off of women’s lack of self-confidence. As we continue to second-guess ourselves, advertising and the media exploits us attacking our confidence often forcing us to buy things we don’t need and live a life thats not true to who we are. It’s time to try and fix the framework encompassing women’s confidence, instead of trying to fix the women themselves. In cultures and communities across the globe women are still seen as second-class citizens, and treated as such. People are stuck in old patterns of behaviour and ways of existing, and this is a harmful way to live.
Women are not the problem here. When you live in a society that repeatedly tells you you’re lacking in something, that limits your achievements, that pays you less for the same amount of work and reinforces the message that you’re not worthy, you begin to believe so. The implications of the confidence gap are grave; men overestimate their abilities and performance, while women underestimate both. But thanks to the courage and determination of so many women that have gone before us, fewer women are questioning their place in society today. We know we have greatness within us, incredible capabilities, and endless talent to offer the world – and we’ll be damned if we keep it to ourselves any longer.
As women, we hold ourselves to impeccably high standards that no-one (let alone ourselves) can ever realistically achieve. We keep waiting for our confidence to jump in and surprise us, but the truth is we’ve had it within ourselves all along. The good news is that it’s possible for us to increase our confidence and stop doubting ourselves, we just have to get out of our heads and live more in the moment. Own your confidence. Practice makes perfect, and one of the best things we can do to overcome our lack of self-confidence is to live by that motto.
Written by J’Nae Phillips