There are very few of us who feel completely confident all the time. On top of that, the confidence gap is a real thing, especially when comparing how men and women view their place in the working world. And it starts really early. So early that a 10-year-old Girl Scout named Alice Paul took notice and decided to do something about it.
After being upset by the fact that the girls in her class didn’t speak up during a field trip while her male classmates had no trouble getting the teacher’s attention, she brought her concerns to her mother and Girl Scout troop. The solution was a new merit badge, the Raise Your Hand patch.
“Its message is that girls should have confidence, step up and become leaders by raising our hands,” Tapper explained in her New York Times editorial. In order to earn the badge, the scout has to promise to raise her hand during class and get three others girls to make the same pledge.
“People say girls have to be 90 percent confident before we raise our hands, but boys just raise their hands. I tell girls that we should take the risk and try anyway, just like the boys do. If the answer is wrong, it’s not the end of the world,” Tapper wrote.
A 2016 study conducted by the University of California, Davis surveyed more than 985,000 men and women from 48 countries over the course of eight years. Each respondent was asked if they saw themselves as having high self esteem. The researchers ultimately found that men reported having higher self-esteem than women, and that gap widens and is more significant in “Western industrialized” countries.
Related: 10 Things Confident People Don't Do
A 2014 article in The Atlantic cited a finding by University of Manchester business professor Marilyn Davidson, who noted that when she asks her students, both male and female, what they expect to earn when they graduate, men say $80,000 a year and women say $64,000. Clearly that dearth of confidence and self-esteem can impact everything from what opportunities you pursue to the salary you think you should earn.
Check out our four strategies to be more confident -- and help others feel the same.