Do you have a feeling it is easier for men to be promoted? Or maybe you fear of losing in competition with men? If you do, and you look for blame in the social mechanisms which produce gender inequalities, let me challenge your perceptions …


Although some biases and stereotypes unfavorable for women do exist in society, thinking that men have a fast-track career guaranteed is not entirely true. There is another cause why women are quite often stuck on the lower steps of the corporate ladder. And that cause lies WITHIN, not outside of us.

As studies show, women are applying for a promotion only when they believe to meet all the criteria required for a certain position. Men, on the other hand, are willing to fight for the positions even if they meet only 60% of the job requirements!

What does this mean? Well, this indicates that what often stops us from reaching the top, is our fear of not being perfect, not being good enough. Men, even those underqualified or underprepared, don’t think twice about leaning in, while women – often overqualified and overprepared – still hold back.


Perhaps it makes you feel better to know, that you are not the only one who thinks that way. Let me give you an example of two of the most powerful women in the world – German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde – who confessed: “We assume, somehow, that we don’t have the level of expertise to be able to grasp the whole thing (…). When we work on a particular matter, we will work the file inside, outside, sideways, backward, historically, genetically and geographically. We want to be completely on top of everything and we want to understand it all and we don’t want to BE FOOLED by someone else”.

Sounds familiar???

So how to overcome this negative habit? It is quite simple, actually. Just stop underestimating and handicapping yourself! You are really better than you think you are. You do not have to be perfect! Your competitors to the position you dream about have also some deficiencies or weaknesses. If you meet half of the criteria, fight for this position.


‘But what if I lose?’ – You may be asking yourself now.

You may lose, that’s true. So what? Will you allow this fear to stop you from trying? Compete! Success comes to those who act and try. Here’s one more great example of an undoubtedly successful and powerful woman – Hilary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton spoke openly about a fear she felt when she was about to make the decision of running for the Senate in 2000. She admitted then: It’s hard to face public failure. I realized I was scared to lose (…). I was finally pushed by a high school women’s basketball coach, who told me: ‘Sure, you might lose. So what? Dare to compete. Mrs. Clinton. Dare to compete’.


Stop underestimating yourself and dare to compete! Fight for the position even if you don’t meet all of the criteria required. Your promotion is just a small decision away – a decision to apply.

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