A Lack of Confidence Is Holding Women Back at Work: Study

Meghan Blalock

working woman

The “glass ceiling” is something we’ve been hearing a ton about in the professional world: The theoretical, invisible barrier that holds women back from achieving either the status or the salaries their male contemporaries enjoy. But now, a new study suggests something Lean In writer Sheryl Sandberg might not be surprised to hear: we might partially be to blame.

According to a new survey of 2,000 British women conducted by shampoo company Head & Shoulders (because why wouldn’t a shampoo brand be interested in women’s career advancement?), 48% of women said they believe they would have progressed further in their careers if they had more confidence. And this insecurity bleeds out into the rest of their lives, too: A whopping 92% responded that they felt like their lack of self-assurance was holding them back in some aspect of their lives.

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Furthermore, the women surveyed perceive these drawbacks as serious ones: 15% cited a belief that they would be two to five years ahead in their careers if they had had more confidence throughout their working life.

Lean In’s Sandberg drew a lot of heat when her book first came out, because of her assertion that one of the big problems with women’s lack of career advancement is women themselves, but now, she kind of gets to say “told you so.”

And even though this is a relatively small sample of women across the Atlantic Ocean, it wouldn’t hurt for us ladies to be a bit more assured and assertive in the workplace, right?  It might be a hackneyed phrase, but it might also be true: If you don’t believe in yourself, why should other people?

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If you’re ever having a day where you feel like can’t do it, just take a page from viral star Jessica, whose daily affirmations would make pretty much anyone more confident.