The Texas Conference for Women provides connection, motivation, networking and more for thousands of Texas women each year. This year, we hosted a table to help women learn more about HERdacity and quiz them on their women’s history to symbolize how hard it can be for women to climb the corporate ladder. However, we soon realized that women were immediately putting themselves down before the quiz even started, and we got a lesson ourselves in women and confidence.
On Wednesday night and all day Thursday, HERdacity staff hosted our ‘Climb the Ladder’ game, testing participants on women’s history with such questions as ‘When did women get the right to vote?’(1920) and ‘Who was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic?’(Amelia Earhart). As questions were answered correctly, women got to move their piece up the board. But as climbing up the corporate world gets harder, so did the questions. By the time participants reached ‘Director’ and ‘CEO’ status, questions became more like “This Democratic politician was the first African American woman elected to Congress and in 1972 became the first major-party black candidate for president.” (Shirley Chisholm).
Wednesday night, we had five CEOs and at the end of Thursday we added 12 more to the list for a total of 17 CEOs out of nearly 200 participants.
Our original goal for the game was to demonstrate the difficulty women face to climb the corporate ladder and show how few women get to CEO level. We also hoped to light a fire in women and push them to find their success. At no point did we think we would also be diving into women and their confidence levels.
Almost every woman that came up to play told us a variation of “I’m not good at trivia, I won’t get very far.” We’ve heard of the confidence gap between men and women in the workplace. Studies show that men tend to overestimate their abilities and performance while women will underestimate themselves in both of these skills. Seeing this lack of confidence in person for something as simple as a game was incredibly eye-opening. Despite this lack of confidence, every woman who decided to play got at least one question right, with the average reaching the mid-tier level of ‘Manager.’
As women approached our table and showed doubt, we encouraged them to play and let participants know that we were on their side. This confidence from an outside force encouraged more women to try and, ultimately, answer questions correctly. We even had some women thank us for pushing them outside their comfort zone. We loved to see women leaving our booth with HERdacity swag and a smile on their face.
Overall, we did show women how hard it is to climb the corporate ladder and taught them some fun facts on women’s history that they might not have known. But more so, we helped women find their confidence and, hopefully, encouraged them to continue pushing themselves outside their comfort zone to do something amazing.
Interested in learning more about HERdacity? Register for our next event today and learn how we can help you build your confidence and drive yourself forward.