We are more than the person we present to the world...
The headline caught your attention didn't it? Perhaps you thought it explained something you believed to be true, or perhaps it captured how you felt about yourself. Either way, women don't fail--at least, not anymore than men fail--and yet there is this overriding stigma, that women fail, personally, professionally and socially? Why do we think this is? Admit it, you likely thought this was the case.
When we Google the term "imposter syndrome" it becomes abundantly clear that women tend to suffer far more from imposter syndrome than men do. Women, and particularly women of color (https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200724-why-imposter-syndrome-hits-women-and-women-of-colour-harder) and particularly immigrant women tend to suffer the most from this idea, that they are just not good enough.
Where does this idea stem from? There was a common misconception that women were not good at specific sectors. Personally, I identify three separate reasons.
a. Female participation in STEM and and other careers was lower. These areas of work were considered "more difficult". Women were pushed out of STEM roles in the mid-1980's. While many theories abound as to why, one very plausible explanation arises with the advent of the personal computer. Parents simply did not buy such a tool for their daughters, giving sons a significant lead time in learning this emerging technology.
b. Female focused industry, such as teaching and nursing and the service sector, in many places have lower levels of pay. They had lower value placed on them because they were not revenue generating activities. They were nurturing activities. They used more soft skills and empahty and women, and traditionally we have assigned a lower value to those.
c. We are harder on ourselves than men. As women, we balance family, including parents, in-laws and children, household budgets, chores, work, extracurricular activities, groceries...and the list goes on. We want to succeed. We want to people please and do well. We expect that we should be able to handle all of these tasks with the finesse of a Corporate CEO. Social media and unrealistic depictions of reality do not help the situation. We try to do too much. When we overextend ourselves, we feel like we have failed.
We expect too much of ourselves. We do not forgive ourselves for things that we would forgive others for.
I think the question is worth some exploration. Why do we not feel good enough? Why do we feel the need toconstantly criticize ourselves for something that a man would never question?
Why do we develop anxiety when we underperfom? Why do we think we have failed our families, pets (yes this is a thing) and workplaces?
It is this sort of query that we explore in our foundational course "Leading Women" https://sylibi.spayee.com/s/store/courses/description/Leading-Woman-Foundations, where over 10 sessions you will work with a coach to identify this type of behaivor in yourself and learn to deconstruct its orgins, enabling you to transform your viewpoint and empower you to make better decisions for your future.
More than anything, we learn to understand who we are, as professionals, women, daughters, mothers, identify who we want to be and develop a roadmap for how to get there.If you have an interest in learning more about who you are and who you can be, then check out our page and join us in this foundational course. You will be glad you did.
Carmen Reis, CPA, MA
Carmen is one of the head coaches and instructors for Sylibi Education. She is a CPA with a deep interest in human nature. She is an entrepreneur who has run her own consulting firm for over a decade, a wife, mother of two and avid volunteer in her community.