Imposter Syndrome: The Gender Gap?

Is Imposter Syndrome just something that impacts women? Do men get it at all? What does the research say? What's happening with the gender gap in Imposter Syndrome?

In this Ditching Imposter Syndrome episode you'll find out the facts, dispelling the myths. Plus you'll find out why Imposter Syndrome is one of three hidden drivers of the gender pay gap, explaining why so many companies have been struggling to close it.

And you'll discover why my favourite Italian word is the key to turning Imposter Syndrome around.

Here's What We'll Cover About The Gender Gap In Imposter Syndrome

  • What the research says about whether women get Imposter Syndrome more than men
  • Dispelling the Imposter Syndrome myths around the gender differences
  • How does it impact men vs women
  • The secret role of Imposter Syndrome in the gender pay gap - and why companies are struggling to close it
  • Why my favourite Italian word is the key to turning Imposter Syndrome around

Watch Here Now:

Here Are Today's Resources For The Gender Gap In Imposter Syndrome:

The 2019 Imposter Syndrome research study:

This is the research that led to the 4 Ps of Imposter Syndrome framework.

Imposter Syndrome Gap

This is one of my definitions of Imposter Syndrome. Find out why it's so important and how it can help us to understand more about how we're running Imposter Syndrome in this episode:

How To Raise The Imposter Syndrome Topic With A Team Member

Want to discuss your Imposter Syndrome concerns with a team member, but you're worried about how to do it and want to make sure they don't run a mile every time they see you, for the rest of time? Then you'll love my free Advice Guide. It explains how to raise the topic, the five super-common bits of well-intentioned advice to avoid (they make things worse) and what to say instead. Grab your copy here - as my gift.

Join Us For The Imposter Syndrome Bootcamp™

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Work 1:1 With Clare Or One Of Her Mentors

Take the Stepping Up To Lead programme and work 1:1 with Clare or one of her certified mentors to get support to clear out Imposter Syndrome, once and for all, and to become the leader you were born to be:

Read Ditching Imposter Syndrome

And if you want to get hold of a copy of Ditching Imposter Syndrome, so you can set yourself free from the secret fear of being found out as not good enough, you can find it here:

Get Your Free Imposter SyndromePersonalised Action Plan

And when you've done my research-backed Imposter Syndrome assessment quiz ( ), let me know - what's your #DoOneThing action from the personalised action plan?

Tweetables On The Gender Gap In Imposter Syndrome

The Gender Gap In Imposter Syndrome - transcript

This is an AI transcript, so please forgive typos!

I've got another great Imposter Syndrome question for you. This is something I do at the beginning of a keynote. For example, a couple of weeks ahead the organisation will send out my Imposter Syndrome Iceberg research-backed questionnaire - link below. Go and do it. If you've not done it, get your personalised action plan and in it.

It gives people a chance to ask me a specific question so I can tailor my talk to the exact needs of the audience. I had a great question come up. So from my research have I found that women have Imposter Syndrome more than men? And if so, what are the main drivers of this? I love this question.

I get it a lot, so I actually build it into my talks. And when people do my Imposter Syndrome mentor or first aid of training, it's actually one of the early things that we cover. It is a massive myth that women have Imposter Syndrome worse than men. Back in 1978, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Eames, who did the original Imposter phenomenon research, it was very widely publicised, but their research study group was just women. So this helped to propagate the myth and the misunderstanding that it was just a girl thing.

They did subsequent research that showed it also impacted men, but that wasn't as widely publicised. Then in the 2019 Imposter Syndrome research study, over 2000 people we did questionnaires with, we did hundreds of interviews as well. We found that women were 20 times more likely than men to talk about Imposter Syndrome and to share their experience with each other to ask for help. So like go figure. The women are going to come across as experiencing it more because they're the ones that are shouting and saying hey, this is going on, it's real for us, it's impacting us, we're not enjoying it and we need to do something.

The male respondents were five times more likely than the female to turn to drugs, alcohol, medication, to be able to push on down the emotions and push on through the anxiety, which led to longer term mental health issues. But when we looked at the stats, the incident levels for men and women were nearly identical. We found in the past year 52% of female respondents had struggled daily or regularly, 49% of male respondents had so statistically pretty much the same. The difference is the way they handle it. What we found with the male respondents is they tended to toughen up, push on through the fear.

Despite the huge physical and emotional and mental costs that came out with the female respondents, they tended to hold back. They tended to wait till they ticked every single box, they tended not to speak up with their ideas, they tended to not take credit for what they'd achieved, instead saying it was a group effort. One of the things we found with this is this is one reason why Imposter Syndrome and was one of three hidden drivers of the gender pay gap and why what most organisations have been doing has not been closing. It because the women are holding back. One of the things I often find is the biggest reason that someone will come to work with me one to one.

For example, I don't have many one to one clients these days. I don't have time. I've got mentors who are certified postgrads who do that work too, but somebody coming to work with me. The most common trigger is for a woman to be promoted into a role that's triggered Imposter Syndrome for them, and for them to suddenly realise they're making a choice between leaving a company they love or staying in that role and feeling like they're failing. And this is usually the kind of thing that will kick them into doing something about it.

It's like, right, I'm not doing this anymore. My favourite Italian word, I'm part Italian, is basta. So it's like pasta with a B. It means enough. When you have your basta moment, enough.

I'm not doing Imposter Syndrome anymore. I am turning this ship around. What can I do? What support can I get? What can I do to go beyond coping with this or dealing with it or putting up with it or handling it?

When you've had your basta moment, you've said yes to a new future. You've opened the door to hope and you will turn Imposter Syndrome around and it is completely possible to set yourself free from this. It's what I've worked with thousands and thousands of people to do over the last 20 years. You've got Stitching and Imposter Syndrome guide you through step by step how to do it. You can work with me and my mentors on ditching Imposter Syndrome boot camp programme and for people who are stepping up from managing to leading, I have my stepping up to lead programme, which goes that next layer deeper.

So, in summary, to answer the question, women do not experience Imposter Syndrome, and more than men, they experience it differently and it disproportionately disadvantages them in the workplace in the context of performance and promotion. So we need to let go of that myth, because men need help with Imposter Syndrome too. And the stuff I teach resonates with men. I used to be an engineer, so it's fluff free. I love unicorns, but you don't have to go and hug any.

Men and women experience it at similar levels. They behave and react in different ways, but the solutions they need are incredibly similar and you could start to set yourself free from this by the end of the day to day. Go and take my assessment. Get your personalised action plan. Take your first action before you go to bed tonight.

And I can't wait to hear what you do next on your ditching Imposter Syndrome journey.

About the author

Clare Josa

Clare is considered a global authority in the fields of Imposter Syndrome, burnout and toxic resilience, and has been an international keynote speaker for over 20 years.

The author of 8 books, a reformed engineer and the former Head of Market Research for one of the world's most disruptive brands, she blends research-backed practical inspiration with demystified ancient wisdom, to help you create breakthroughs in ways that are fast, fun and forever.

Want to find out your Imposter Syndrome Score? Take Clare's free research-backed, quiz-style assessment and get your score plus a personalised action plan in the next 3 minutes.

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