In “The Confidence Gap,” published recently in The Atlantic, authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman write at length about how women should not fear being confident and taking risks in the workplace, followed by a warning that someone might take it badly. You have to wonder how helpful it is to spend thousands of words making one case only to undermine acting on that advice because someone might find your confidence off putting. Strikes me as a bit unconfident.
Still, I wholly support this newfound interest many left-leaning women have in developing female confidence. Here are some ways that women can demonstrate confidence right now.
1. Buy your own birth control. Believe it or not, women used to be able to do it all the time. It’s disconcerting that we are losing skills not gaining them as time goes on.
2. Realize that regulation is often a hindrance to confident women inventors and innovators. Tech entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes is a chemical and electrical engineer who has invented ways to streamline, automate and miniaturize more than 1,000 laboratory tests — everything from blood work to genetic analysis. Her processes are faster, cheaper and more accurate than traditional tests and require far less blood. In other words, her work is fundamentally disruptive to the established industry. The Journal notes:
This strategy may be inviting a hell of a battle with the health industry, where the incentives are rigged against startups and the empire usually finds a way of striking back. Witness the medical-practice regulations that make medicine a cartel against competitors. Pathologists, lab scientists and technicians won’t be pleased if their jobs go the way of travel agents.
3. Choose to work or stay home with your children. Be confident in either choice. Lean in, lean out, stand up, sit down, and maybe just calm down and worry less about doing what the latest elite girls are saying you must do and do what works best for you.
4. Choose to keep your own children or at least be confident enough to bring them into the world and find them a good home. Abortion is frequently an act based in fear rather than confidence. Understanding that sex has logical consequences that you and your partner should be ready to handle together is a mark of a confident woman.
5. Assume you deserve to be treated well by any potential dating partner. Participating in the “hook-up culture” that makes women miserable isn’t the behavior of a confident woman not willing to settle for less than she’s worth.
6. Assume that money is spent best by individuals. Be more confident in individual Americans and the businesses they operate than centrally planned bureaucracies. The majority of Americans trust small business the most when it comes to job creation. They may be on to something.
7. Get angry that people think you can’t ask for a raise. Get mad that someone thinks your only goal is to make the same salary as everyone else, eliminating valuable options that accommodate your educational desires, career choices, and workplace flexibility needs. Get even angrier that they think your husband should take a pay cut to assuage some un-confident folks because that’s your household’s money too.
8. Realize that many women are penalized by higher taxes. 72 percent of married women who work are taxed at the higher marginal rate of their husbands and end up paying more taxes than their single counterparts. Moreover if you want to see more women in the work force, lower tax rates are what entice women into choosing work over remaining out of the workplace. Further higher taxes imply that you believe a remote entity is better at allocating your own earnings than you are. Hardly seems confident.
9. Learn that insurance is to cover the unexpected and have the confidence to plan for the expected. This basic level of personal responsibility will mark to the world that you are confident, capable and ready to handle what’s coming your way.
10. Look for another job if you think your worth is not recognized. The best way to negotiate your salary is to have multiple options. The best way to have multiple job offers is real economic growth. The only way to generate real economic growth is from private sector innovation. The aims of progressive policy replace growth with relegating ourselves to redistributing the inventions of the past thereby eliminating the incentive to invent the future. That is not the act of a confident woman or nation.
11. Apply critical thinking before buying into cooked up statistics that appear to be aimed at driving an emotional response instead of a logical one. Don’t let the false premise of the wage gap make you feel suddenly insecure. Ask yourself: Who gains by women remaining perpetually concerned that they can not get ahead on their own? It certainly isn’t you. It’s not hard to have a conversation with your boss to determine where you sit and why in your job’s wage band. There is no need for legislation that will make it more likely employers will move to “equal” salaries instead of performance based ones because of the cost of potential lawsuits. Do you really want to work in a world where everyone is paid the same as the worst employee? “I don’t want to be paid the same as a poor-performing male. I’m confident I deserve to make more.”
12. Don’t fear a world with less government intervention. Less intervention means more space for your choices and more happiness. As Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, has written:
It turns out that choosing to pursue four basic values of faith, family, community and work is the surest path to happiness, given that a certain percentage is genetic and not under our control in any way.
Life is unpredictable and often that’s what makes it enjoyable. In fact, as Brooks notes, conservative women happen to be happier than any other group.
[C]onservative women are particularly blissful: about 40 percent say they are very happy. That makes them slightly happier than conservative men and significantly happier than liberal women. The unhappiest of all are liberal men; only about a fifth consider themselves very happy.
Confident women are happy women.
13. Stop settling for “equality”. I’ve never understood why the goal would be to be the same as everyone else. Aim higher.
Vote for politicians who don’t belittle your capacity for accomplishment and personal responsibility. If a politician gains power by the presumption you have none, that’s going to be where they want to keep you. Besides, you’re confident in your own abilities and can’t conceive of a world where you need legislation to accomplish what you can do on your own. That’s what a confident woman would do.