Why Men Exaggerate Their Influence At Work & Women Do Otherwise

When it comes to sharing about their professional life at interviews, women have a tendency to downplay their achievements and highlight their struggles, however, men, on the other hand, have a tendency to exaggerate their role at work. You might have seen this among men and women and now even studies are holding this to be true; latest research by Harvard Business School and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania revealed that women rate themselves 15 points lower than the average man on a 100 point scale.

A lack of self-promotion could be because of the confidence gap

In the working paper distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the researchers wrote, “When communicating to potential employers, women systematically provide less favorable assessments of their own past performance and potential future ability than equally performing men.” The experiment involved 900 workers who were asked to take a test that consisted of 20 questions from the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, an exam used to determine whether someone is qualified to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces. Later, the candidates were asked to estimate how many answers were correct on the test and how they performed. ‘The researchers ruled out various possible explanations for why women were less inclined toward self-promotion. Even after some of the participants were told how well they scored on the test and how that compared to others’ scores, they still assessed themselves more poorly than men.’ Hence, the lack of self-promotion cannot be blamed only on the gender confidence gap and there is more at play than simply this, which has always been the explanation.

Girls were always prevented from “tooting their own horn” growing up

Inappropriate behavior! That’s what many women think self-promotion is because being boastful is simply not nice and also they are afraid of receiving some backlash when it comes to boasting of their achievements and talents. Also, men have the tendency of inflating their talents and achievements and employers fail to take this into account. Traditionally, boasting was never a “ladylike” attribute and therefore, girls were always prevented from “tooting their own horn”, however, among boys, it was never discouraged and, hence, such a culture had only grown among men and women in their adulthood.  Therefore, there is more than one reason behind the self-promotion gap and this could seriously impact the careers of professional women. People are often asked to rate their skills from the university level and later at the time of interviews and during performance appraisals at work, and if women keep on downrating themselves, it could lead to even more gender gap in the professional realm.

Image credit: MarketWatch

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