Gender Gap = Confidence Gap

I have something on my mind.

There has been a trend going on (probably for ages) that women everywhere: my friends, my colleagues and myself have fallen victim to.

Women underestimate their qualifications. 

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It hit me as I was looking into yet another job application: one for a videographer and editor for the Tennessee Titans.

It was perfect. I don’t tend to enjoy being in front of the camera, but I love being behind it. I love production and I have an eye for helping others look their best.

I scrolled through the job description down to qualifications.

  • Must have an understanding of football as a sport, and how it is played. Check.
  • Must know how to operate different cameras: DSLRs, camcorders, etc. Check.
  • Must understand mics: lavaliers (wired and wireless) and stick mics. Check.
  • Must be proficient in video editing software. Check.

But wait. Then it started listing all the software said applicant would have to be proficient in. Adobe Premiere Pro, which I know almost like the back of my hand. Then Adobe After Effects. (Wait, what? That’s animation software.) Then about seven other programs that I hadn’t used before, including three by Sony.

I gulped.

“I know this job is something different, but you could do it,” my roommate said.

My stomach sank. No, I couldn’t. Oh well. Another day, another job I’m not quite qualified for. It was the same old song. Others that seemed perfect for me needed an applicant with three years’ experience. There goes that. Still others needed a year experience at a particular station. And there goes that.

But I got to thinking, if I were a man… would I be so tentative about applying for these?

Somehow, I just don’t think I would. This is not a criticism towards men at all, if anything, it’s a compliment. But why does it feel like men have the confidence to apply for anything and everything? And here my friends are nervous about applying for administrative assistant positions, just trying to somehow break their way some way, any way, into their chosen field.

After doing some research, a long but fantastic article in The Atlantic pretty much hit the nail on the head for me.

“Women feel confident only when they are perfect. Or practically perfect.”

We do. As the article states, women at HP only applied for a job promotion when they felt they met 100% of the requirements. Men? They were happy to apply if they met 60%.

We win awards. But we shrug and say that must have just happened by chance. We bypass applying for promotions because we don’t think we deserve it. We don’t apply for jobs and amazing opportunities simply because we don’t think we’ll get them.

I’m tired of that.

So read the article and get your heads on straight, ladies. Ask for that big promotion. Apply to that Ivy League grad program you don’t think you’re right for. Apply for huge research grants and apply for every job you think you almost but don’t quite make the cut for. It’s not for you to decide, but in the end, it is.


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