While self-promotion is critical for one’s professional success, women face unique challenges and barriers (a lot of are internal) when it comes to promoting themselves in the workplace.

Here are some of the reasons why women may be reluctant or find it difficult to self-promote:

  1. Cultural Conditioning and Modesty Norms: Cultural conditioning plays a significant role in shaping women’s behavior and attitudes towards self-promotion. Traditional gender norms and societal expectations may discourage women from seeking recognition, reinforcing the idea that their value lies in being modest and selfless rather than assertive and self-promoting.
  2. Fear of Backlash or Negative Perceptions: Women may fear that self-promotion will be met with negative reactions, such as being seen as arrogant, aggressive, or unlikeable.
  3. Imposter Syndrome: Imposter syndrome affects both men and women. However studies show that women tend to experience imposter syndrome more frequently, which can undermine their confidence and make self-promotion challenging.
  4. Perfectionism and High Standards: Women, more often than men, tend to hold themselves to exceptionally high standards and may feel the need to meet those standards before promoting themselves. This perfectionistic tendency can create a barrier to self-promotion, as women may wait for absolute certainty or flawless accomplishments before showcasing their skills and achievements.
  5. Lack of Organizational Support: In some workplaces, there may be a lack of support or recognition systems that encourage self-promotion. Women may perceive that their efforts will not be adequately acknowledged or rewarded, leading to a reluctance to engage in self-promotional activities.
  6. Confidence and Perceived Competence Gap: Research shows that women often underestimate their abilities and hesitate to self-promote, while men tend to overestimate their abilities and are more inclined to promote themselves.
  7. Balancing Multiple Roles and Priorities: We, women, often juggle multiple roles and responsibilities, both at work and in our personal lives. This can limit the time and energy available for self-promotion activities, as we may prioritize other obligations and responsibilities over promoting themselves.
  8. Double Bind Dilemma: Women often face a double bind dilemma, where they are judged negatively regardless of whether they engage in self-promotion or not. If they promote themselves, they may be seen as too aggressive or self-centered. On the other hand, if they do not self-promote, their achievements may go unnoticed and undervalued.
  9. Fear of Success: Women may have a fear of success, which can make self-promotion challenging. The fear stems from concerns about increased expectations, potential backlash, or the loss of likability and social acceptance. This fear creates internal barriers that inhibit women from confidently promoting themselves.
  10. Lack of Role Models and Mentors: The scarcity of visible female role models and mentors in leadership positions can hinder women’s self-promotion efforts. Without relatable examples to emulate, women may struggle to envision themselves as successful and may find it difficult to navigate the promotion landscape effectively.
  11. Perceived Risk of Failure: Women may be more risk-averse when it comes to self-promotion due to the fear of failure and the potential consequences associated with it. This risk aversion can lead women to downplay their accomplishments or avoid self-promotion altogether to avoid scrutiny or negative judgment.

In the next newsletter, we will continue talking about self-promotion: its benefits and how we can do it with authenticy and gravitas.

A quick reminder: I’ll be soon doing a live webinar to talk about the 3 things you need to be clear on to self-promote with grace and authenticity. Join not to miss the announcement.