Emotional Intelligence and Gender Inequality – Redux

In September 2013 my blog on Sheryl Sandberg caused an uproar in feminist cyberspace. Sandberg’s most famous quote is “A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.” My argument based on the Humm-Wadsworth model was that a 50/50 split is genetically impossible but a split of 2:1 is feasible. To say the feminists did not agree was an understatement.

Recently Tracom published a blog Are Women Held Back By a Lack of Confidence? It does make you feel a little better when your views on gender inequality are supported. You feel a lot better when the people arguing that gender inequality is genetically based are all female. The Tracom blog argues that it is both the level of testosterone and that women are almost twice as likely to suffer from depression and trait anxiety which causes the difference. According to Tracom women score lower on self-assurance and self-composure compared to men and confidence is more predictive of career success than competence. According to the blog men tend to overestimate their abilities by approximately 30% while women underestimate their abilities. Mathematically this equates to a 2:1 split.

The blog then goes on to advocate that the key factor to success is self-confidence. Confident people view the world more positively and are more likely to persevere through challenges. For example, research shows that those with high self-confidence view challenges as deserved opportunities to learn and grow, while those with low self-esteem view challenges as chances to fail. Confident people also set more ambitious goals and persist longer on difficult assignments, which opens up more opportunities. Moreover, they choose occupations that support their interests, which leads to greater job satisfaction.

Tracom suggest that to build your self-confidence you strike power poses. Doing this so for two minutes increases your level of testosterone (the dominance hormone) and lowers the level of cortisol (the stress hormone), while low power poses do the opposite. Another strategy is to analyse and challenge your self-talk. We speak to ourselves endlessly, using hundreds of words every minute. For many people this self-talk is full of self-criticism and fault-finding which then reinforces the lack of self-confidence.

I would also argue that self-confidence is strongly influenced by genetics. The key Humm Component is the Politician. Politicians are driven by the desire to win and are chock full of self-confidence. They seek power and are steadfast, decisive and forceful. They are very good in arguments and very persuasive. Politicians often become managers in large organisations. They can be assertive and argumentative, and are very good with words. Politicians are so aggressive that they are frequently nicknamed tigers. Blanche d’Alpuget, wife and biographer of Bob Hawke, calls this fighting spirit the warrior instinct and maintains that all successful leaders have this drive in their personalities.

The good news is if you understand how the personality of the Politician works you can begin to emulate some of the characteristics and build your self confidence. All seven components are dissected in my books available at www.emotionalintelligencecourse.com

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Chris Golis - Author

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