Saturday Morning Rounds February 1, 2020 - Why women don't self-promote as much as men, and what to do about it

Posted by BossB, MD on February 1, 2020
BossB, MD

Saturday Morning Rounds
A weekly round-up of everything that captured our attention over the last 7 days

What we're reading

What we're reading

Why Don't Women Self-Promote As Much As Men?

'Tis the season of annual reviews, and self-assessment is becoming an increasingly important part of that process in all kinds of institutions.

In this HBR article, the authors/researchers

"found a large gender gap in self-promotion — with men rating their performance 33% higher than equally performing women. To understand what’s driving this gap, [they] looked at two factors that might influence one’s level of self-promotion: confidence (you may be unsure of your actual performance) and strategic incentives (you may talk up your performance to get a raise or promotion)."

Read the article itself if you want to get into their study design (which is fascinating), but long story short they covered every angle they could think of to test both confidence and strategic incentives as possible explanations for the gender gap in self-assessment.

In the authors' own (likely flummoxed) words:

"In every setting we explored, we observed a substantial gender gap in self-promotion: Women systematically provided less favorable assessments of their own past performance and potential future ability than equally performing men. And our various study versions revealed that this gender gap was not driven by confidence or by strategic incentives, and that it was robust both in the face of ambiguity and under increased transparency."

Essentially, no matter what they authors did to increase confidence or decrease the downside of self-promotion, women were still more likely to rate the exact same objective performance far lower than their male counterparts.

Why might this be? The authors close by advancing a theory that we suspect is at the center of this phenomenon:

"Prior work investigating self-promotion has pointed to the potential for gender differences in backlash — in which those who self-promote 'too much' are punished. If women are punished for excessive self-promotion more than men, this could lead women — more than men — to internalize the risks of describing their performance too favorably."

More to come on this topic in today's "tip of the week"

Who we're following

It's super bowl weekend and Oikos greek yogurt just dropped an ad that highlights why many of us watch each year.

Hint... it's neither for the football, nor for the ads 🍑

BBMD tip of the week

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

So we've established that women don't self-promote as much as men, and that a number of well-designed interventions had little to no effect. But what do we do about it? We're so glad you asked!

Here are a few ideas of things that you can do to close the gender gap in self-assessments:

Most important of all, try to remember that you're doing yourself and the world a disservice if you don't let people know what you're truly great at, and what a difference you can make for them (and their institution in the case of an employer).

You've got gifts to give - so show up and offer them fully when the time comes.

Quote we're contemplating

"Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” - Marianne Williamson


PS - If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it, subscribe here to make sure you don't miss out on future ones!
PPS - As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions by replying to this email (we read 'em all) or getting at us via Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!