Back in 2014, The Atlantic released the article The Confidence Gap–an article that further sparked my passions and research. The article sheds light on the wage gap and how the socialization of women and girls also plays a role in a woman’s career advancement and salary level.
From a young age, society doesn’t do a good job at teaching girls to love and appreciate themselves and their value and worth. In fact, we are taught to second-guess our knowledge, abilities, and who we are–also known as an equation for low self-efficacy.
Self-efficacy is one’s belief in his or her own ability. When looking at the statistics on the Department of Labor’s website, a woman’s career self-efficacy is a lot lower than a man’s self-efficacy for non-traditional careers (Executive Directors, Engineers, Managers, Software Designers, Etc.). Studies also show that a man is more willing to go after a raise, promotion, or job without being 100% qualified for the position while a woman tends to only go after those career advancement opportunities when she is 100% qualified.
It’s imperative for us to start teaching girls from birth that they are also able to do what they put their mind to and should celebrate their unique and individual strengths and abilities. It is vital if we want to transition into a society with a workforce that also has women in higher, better-paying positions.
When looking at the wage gap, the numbers are even worse for Hispanic and Black women compared to women of other races! We need to begin taking matters into our own hands when it comes to increasing our confidence in ourselves.
- Do Affirmations Daily: Start your day off with some positivity so that you are allowing yourself to define yourself, for yourself. Whether you want to write it on your mirror, say it verbally in the mirror, or use the app ThinkUp to record some affirmations to listen to throughout your day, do what will help you get in the habit of thinking of yourself positively!
- Make a List: We have a habit of automatically remembering those negative aspects we think about ourselves rather than what things make us amazing. Take a moment of each day to write down something you love about yourself (or two!) and just keep letting the list grow each day so you have something to look at when you are feeling less than or incompetent.
- Boundaries are Everything: Stop allowing yourself to be the yes woman who constantly gets walked on or feels the need to please everyone but herself. It’s okay to tell people no; in fact, you will feel so much better when you do. Whether it’s with spending your time on things that do not add value to your life or if it’s spreading yourself too thin to constantly accommodate the needs of everyone else, we all need to tell people no and not be afraid to do so.
- Make Self Care a Lifestyle Rather Than an Every Now & Then Practice: If your only self-care is getting your nails done every two weeks–Houston, we have a problem! Society has continued to make people feel guilty for taking a break when needed. Allowing yourself to have a moment in your day that allows you to reenergize is not lazy, it is a need that will allow you to be consistently productive rather than fit burnt out. Find what things make you feel good, at peace, or happy–and fit them in your life on a regular!
- Images are Important: Get yourself a strong woman role model, surround yourself with positive women in your circle, and be mindful of the tin media you flock to. Constantly being around negativity and feeling the negative impacts of some of the toxicity in media will not allow you to be your best self, it will do the opposite. Ensure that the messaging that you are allowing into your life is adding value to you and lifting you rather than tearing you down and chipping away at your self-worth.
The wage gap will continue to stay if we are not actively fighting against it and empowering women to reach their full potential. Start by empowering yourself so you can empower others around you!