Confidence is key
For women especially, confidence is directly linked to performance. When a woman lacks confidence, she shrinks into the corner, her ideas are not heard and she feels inept. On the other hand, when she's confident and certain in her abilities, the world is her oyster.
Having worked in the space of female leadership for the past 5 years, I can confidently say (pun intended) that confidence lies at the heart of gender equality. While there are many other factors at play, I truly believe that building the confidence of women is key to creating a more gender equal world.
Here is why.
Confidence lies at the heart of opportunity
Knowing you are good at what you do and being confident in your own abilities will open doors. Take my mum for an example. Back in the day, she only just graduated from high school. University was never an option because of her miserable exam results and riddled with self-doubt and directionless she fell into one odd job after another. Years later post marriage, children, divorce and moving across the country, she decided it was time for university. She had a passion for helping people and decided to enrol in a counselling degree. Finally she was doing what she was good at and she flourished. With a degree now under her belt and confident in her abilities as a counsellor she now runs a successful private practice in Western Australia doing what she does best, helping people help themselves.
Opportunities are made by those who are confident in what they can offer the world and having the confidence to take opportunities that are offered is a blueprint for success.
Greater confidence = greater diversity
We all know by now that diversity in business is a win win situation. Having an inclusive, diverse workforce right from access to industry right up to the most senior board positions is imperative for the longevity, sustainability, and profitability of business.
When you encourage women to grow in their confidence and take a seat at the table, you are including greater diversity in opinions, thoughts and perspectives in the conversation. Diversity of course lends itself not just to gender but to age, ethnicity, cultural background and professional experience. Engaging a diverse mix of confident professionals adds greater value to any business.
Confident women raise confident girls and boys
A study a couple of years ago suggested there is a possibility that self esteem and confidence can be passed down through genetics, however regardless, a woman confident in herself will naturally raise confident, self-assured children.
Anecdotal evidence from friends suggests when children grow up confident in their thoughts, opinions and beliefs they are more equipped to be able to deal with gender stereotypes, understand nuanced biases and voice their ideas easily.
Confidence is not something finite, but rather a quality that can be learned and shaped over time and with practice. What is one action you will take today, tomorrow and every day that will build your own confidence and that of a woman that works alongside you?
“Fortune does favour the bold and you'll never know what you're capable of if you don't try.” - Sheryl Sandberg