The Effects of Confidence on Diversity and Gender

A friend sent two articles to me recently that highlighted diversity and gender issues. One criticized white University of Chicago students for hanging out in “gangsta gear,” drinking beer, and acting like they thought they were cool. Seems to me that’s pretty harmless college age messing around, but enough people thought it was in poor enough taste to get the school and community riled up over supposedly racist behavior. What nonsense.

The other story was from FORTUNE magazine and it asked who makes better decisions, men or women? It was a brief piece outlining some differences between the genders, citing several recent surveys and concluding that when all is said and done “both sexes think men make better decisions.” “Such expectations can be damning to women’s prospects,” says the article.

While there’s nothing funny about discrimination or racism, there seems to be a tendency these days for people to react first, think later, and carry some things too far. College kids have always done and said stupid things and my guess is that they always will. It’s part of growing up. Adults, on the other hand, might be expected to have a better sense of perspective, to know when to react publicly to something and when to take the “offenders” aside for a private talking-to and instructions for cleaning up their acts.

As for the gender war, it’s been raging since the beginning of time and that, too, will likely continue long beyond any of our life spans. Should we discount it? No. Ignore it? No. But here’s a thought to put some of this into perspective. Confident people have always found a way to rise above the petty noise of the crowd to develop their strengths and skills, to make contributions in arenas that matter to them, and to demonstrate not only the incredible power and tenacity of the human spirit, but also the dignity that comes with success despite all odds, not at someone else’s–anyone else’s–expense.

It’s not a moral dilemma as I see it. It’s a matter of understanding how things work, finding ways to leverage advantage, minimize adversity, build alliances, and deal quietly with all sorts of nonsense that crop up every day in all our lives. Confidence is very pragmatic. It’s also mature, sometimes wise, always energizing. You won’t find confident people tearing things down. They’re too busy building.

Categories: Women

About Susan Marshall

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Susan A. Marshall is author, speaker and founder, whose mission is to create a stronger, more confident future, one person or team at a time.  Through personal experience and hands-on work with executives from diverse industries at all levels, Susan has had the privilege of helping thousands of people do the difficult and exhilarating work of growth.