Only 4.8 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, according to the nonprofit organization Catalyst.
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While there are those who argue against the existence of a wage gap at all, Catalyst, whose goal is to “expand opportunities for women and business,” found that in the first year after their college graduation, women working full-time earned $35,296, compared to $42,918 for men.
Some recent studies and publications are suggesting that the reason there aren’t more women in leadership positions and highly paid jobs is a general lack of self-confidence, which holds women back. Others have countered, however, that any inequalities between men and women — and the lower self-confidence that might come with it — is due to faults in our culture and society.
“There is a particular crisis for women—a vast confidence gap that separates the sexes. Compared with men, women don’t consider themselves as ready for promotions, they predict they’ll do worse on tests, and they generally underestimate their abilities,” wrote Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, authors of “The Confidence Code,” as summarized in The Atlantic. “Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence. No wonder that women, despite all our progress, are still woefully underrepresented at the highest levels.”
Kay and Shipman believe that the confidence gap is the result of many factors, ranging from upbringing to biology, but almost all women are negatively impacted by it.
“In study after study, the data confirm what we instinctively know,” said Kay and Shipman. “Underqualified and underprepared men don’t think twice about leaning in. Overqualified and overprepared, too many women still hold back. Women feel confident only when they are perfect.”
The two argue that the confidence gap can be closed, and that doing so will have a dramatic effect on women.