• Sarah E. Brown

The Gender-Related Self-Promotion Gap


We have heard about the gender pay gap and the gender-related self-confidence gap. This week I am sharing several articles on the gender-related self-promotion gap. This gap describes a phenomenon whereby women are more inclined to minimize their successes than tell people about them. See for example the following article:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisacurtis/2019/11/24/womens-key-to-business-successbragging-more/#32f1dc6e7ff7

This particular article by Lisa Curtis highlights a finding that close to 70% of women would rather minimize their successes than tell other about them. Other articles have reported that most women would rather go to the dentist than self-promote. These articles are based on recent studies on the subject. See for example:

https://www.selfpromotiongap.com/home

What is interesting to me is that, according to Curtis, this tendency seems to grow with age, with older women being 20% more likely to want to downplay their strengths and accomplishments.

I am probably more sensitive to these articles right now because two weeks ago I attended a conference aimed at authors who wanted to learn more about marketing their books. There was a whole section of the agenda that focused on self-promotion. At this conference, men and women had equal reservations about touting their successes. If women, in general, do, in fact, have more reservations about self-promotion, than what I learned is even more important.

The facilitators at this conference had an antidote which I will share with you, but they started by asking a question:

“If people do not know what your experiences are and where you have had success, then how do they know that you might possibly be able to help them?”

I really got to thinking about this question. It made sense to me. So the practice exercise we did resonated:

We then practiced sharing our experiences and successes out of love and service. We first got into a state of mind that what we wanted to do was be in service to those to whom we spoke. And then we shared an experience or a success from that standpoint.

It was a powerful exercise for me. I did not feel arrogant or that I was trying to be different than others. I was just sharing a bit of who I was and offering to others who might benefit from my past experience.

So I commend the same to you: Practice bragging to someone else today out of love and the chance that it could be of service to them.

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Sarah E. Brown 2019