Another day, another feminist grievance in a major media outlet. The Atlantic features “The Confidence Gap” on its cover, written by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Kay is the lead anchor of BBC World News America and Shipman is senior national correspondent for ABC’s Good Morning America. They argue that “evidence” shows women are less confident and that to succeed in corporate environments (which is, oddly, the only sphere of life they are even remotely interested in looking at), confidence is as important as actual skills.
I read the piece and was completely flummoxed by it, for a variety of reasons. Here are six reflections on the most serious problem of our
era week: The Confidence Gap.
1) It isn’t about confidence.
The article is really about risk-taking and how men differ in their risk calculations from women. To give just two examples from the article, and to give you an idea of its tone:
- “We watch our male colleagues take risks, while we hold back until we’re sure we are perfectly ready and perfectly qualified.”
- “If a woman walks into her boss’s office with unsolicited opinions, speaks up first at meetings, or gives business advice above her pay grade, she risks being disliked or even—let’s be blunt—being labeled a bitch.”
Leaving aside the melodramatic stereotyping and bizarre generalizations about how people love unsolicited advice from men but abhor it from women, you’ll note that risk is the main ingredient in the supposed confidence gap.