Diving into our research and immersing into how to enhance gender diversity in Pakistan through our Engage Women initiative and the Women@Work Study, is like peeling an onion. Every time you think you have one insight, it leads to a deeper layer with even more profound insights. The more I learn, the more I go jumping from and connecting one thought to another.
While surfing the web I came across Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches initiative and was blown away by this social experiment. I don’t know who came up with the idea, but the concept of letting an artist make two sketches of the same woman, one as she sees herself and one how she is seen by a stranger, is utterly genius and mind boggling. The results were fascinating; only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. The dove website says it all; “women are their own worst beauty critics.”
While I was thinking over on this insight, my monkey brain leaped to Sheryl Sandberg’s, Ted Talk video on Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders (she has recently translated these thoughts in her best selling book: Lean In.) In this, Sandberg explains that amongst others, one of the main reason why women progress less in the corporate world is that they are the own worst critics. According to her, when a man achieves a certain task, he screams it from the roof tops and gives high fives all around, whereas when a woman achieves a similar task, she still wonders what she could have done better.
So maybe women are not only their own worst beauty critics but also their own worst career critics. Maybe a boost of confidence is all they need, or maybe they need to see their achievements through the eyes of another. What do you think; are women getting in their own way by being too critical?
– Paul Keijzer