Gender equality has been gaining momentum for the past couple of years, especially after the #MeToo movement. Women are slowly getting their voices heard and their influence is now improving.

While there is a significant change over women’s rights and opportunities, it is different when it comes to working. There are still a small number of women who are in senior roles in many corporations and businesses and while women do have the potential to step up in the career ladder, they are not stepping up to fight for the position.

Are they underselling themselves and why are they doing it? Here are the reasons why women are underselling themselves:

Different Priorities

When women enter the workforce, they usually take into consideration their life outside work, especially for married women.

For most single women, they don’t have another job to think about at work.

For married women, they have a second job to think about and that is being a housewife and take care of the family. Because of this “second job”, they could not promote themselves for a higher position because it will clash with their schedule even if they deserve the position.

I can’t lie and say this doesn’t affect me. As much as I was a high-flying career woman, once I became a mother, I do need to take my family dynamics into considerations.

Read more: My First Job and My Last Career

If my spouse travel all the time for work, I can’t have a job that require me to travel too. Otherwise, we’ll never see each other and our daughter. If I need to work erratic hours, then my spouse will need to work lesser hours in order to take care of our daughter.

This doesn’t mean it can’t work out. I have met plenty of high-career women with home-staying partners.

Gender Bias

Women also do not promote their skills that much because there is this unconscious belief that they know they won’t get the position. If you look at the positions in any company, most of the senior positions and administrative positions are held by men.

Read more: Little Known Facts of Famous Male Entrepreneurs

With this in mind, they may have certain preferences on how they want their female workers should be like.

Furthermore, they also believe that during their interview, the interviewers will be biased against them even if they show their credentials.

I always had people with disbelief whenever I told them I was in the IT industry. Many had asked if it was difficult to work in a male dominated environment.

Low confidence

It is also possible that women are underselling themselves on purpose because they don’t believe they qualify for the job even if they do.

When you compare it with men, men will go for it even if they can only fulfill 60% of the requirements.

Workplace conditions

Women also do not promote their skills because they believe their workplace won’t give them much leeway when it comes to the workplace.

In many workplaces these days, workers are expected to follow a set schedule for work and they cannot get a special arrangement if they have family events or issues to attend to. This sucks big time! When both parents work and a child is sick, it is almost always the mother who will take leave to attend the sick child.

Some would even require their workers to attend after-work parties, which can be hard to manage. How would your child or your spouse feel if you only come home after midnight almost everyday?

In Other Words…

Women have the same potential as men to be better in the careers they have selected for themselves. However, if you undermine yourself because of the four reasons above, you are not giving yourself a chance to be who you can be.

Don’t be afraid to promote yourself and work a way with your boss to get the job and still manage your life after work. Time passes by so quickly and if you do not grab the opportunity, when will you reach your goals?

Be confident and grab the opportunity today before the chance slips away from your grasp.

Women had it difficult when it comes to workforce, here are some stories to share with you:
Little Known Facts of Famous Female Entrepreneurs
How Women Can Navigate Male-Dominated Fields
Guest Post: Women choose between your Career and Marriage

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25 replies on “Why do Women Undersell Themselves at Work?

  1. Excellent narration of your job journey.It reminded me of my journey in the Corporate world.I loved the narration of your feel and experience in the sense that you seem to be directly talking to people rather than writing them.I love your this unique style, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said Kally! Women in my country thinks that being a housewife and taking care of the kids are their destiny, A women can take care of her kid, as well as she can manage her career too. And as you rightly pointed out, even though women could able to do a lot more, they undersell themselves except few women that are equally challenging to men and grabs the success. Wish all women could be like that. Thanks for this beautiful post Kally!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Simon. I hope that I can inspire more women (perhaps men too) to work towards their dreams and not undersell themselves anymore. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome for you! So far, my best mentors have been male because in Asia, many of the top management are dominated by men. Even then, my mentors always advised me never to live in the shadows of others. When it is time for you to shine, SHINE!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely. Funny, it’s what I told one of my execs once. She was so discrete, I told her: I assume you are working well, because your supervisor has no complaint, but you need to show the work you’re actually doing. Otherwise I don’t know… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That is very good advice really. As a ex-manager, I often unable to “see” the little details that my staff do and have to rely on numbers but figures don’t speak the whole story. I often tell my staff to speak up and claim credit when it is due to them.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That is very good. Tells the team you “have their back”.
            On work-related issues for women, you might want to look at my last post… See what you think.

            Like

  3. With an extremely long and successful sales, and sales management background; with women being such an obviously GREAT sell; it is puzzling while there is not wider equality; Old prejudices “die hard”; so ALL of us should endeavor to hasten their demise.

    Thanks my friend, another GREAT Post

    God Bless,
    Patrick

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a wonder why there are still women hiding behind the shadows of men. Equally, we have brains, hands and passionate hearts.

      Have a wonderful Sunday, Patrick. Stay blessed.

      Like

  4. Well, I think the rule of the corporate jungle applies here too; hunt or get hunted!
    Some women like to hunt and they do everything in their power to get what they deserve.
    Some women likes the idea of hunting and they start it up as well but down the line, they don’t feel okay with it and move themselves away from the fast track.
    Some women likes to watch and observe the situation before stepping into the jungle. They may step in it but do everything in their power to stay away from the trouble, while getting just the enough amount of what they want to quench their thirst.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess there are way too few women who hunt and too many who are standing at the sidelines watching. Not really hunting but I prefer to take my credit when credit is due.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That is so true, I’m almost 55 and have dealt with Male and female bosses. I think the women just understand more about family life and jobs.

    Liked by 1 person

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