The Atlantic's May 2014 Cover Story, 'The Confidence Gap,' by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

Washington, D.C.; April 15, 2014 -- A growing body of evidence shows that, at work and in life, confidence matters just as much as competence when it comes to getting ahead. The problem, argue the broadcast journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman in The Atlantic’s May 2014 cover story, is that women are less self-assured than men—and that this persistent disparity between the genders is what keeps women from achieving at the highest levels.
The science and culture behind this predicament, and the means to rectify it, is what Kay, the anchor of BBC World News America, and Shipman, an ABC News reporter, outline in “The Confidence Gap,” available now at The cover story is based on their new book, The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know.
Kay and Shipman write that, despite being just as qualified as men, women often hold themselves back. Compared with men, women don’t consider themselves as ready for promotions, they predict they’ll do worse on tests, and they generally underestimate their abilities. The authors also share their own struggles with finding confidence: they’ve each questioned their intelligence and ability to compete for top jobs, and attributed success to being “in the right place at the right time.”
“A growing body of evidence shows just how devastating this lack of confidence can be. Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence. No wonder that women, despite all our progress, are still woefully underrepresented at the highest levels. All of that is the bad news. The good news is that with work, confidence can be acquired. Which means that the confidence gap, in turn, can be closed.”
Kay and Shipman will defend their provocative thesis during a special event on May 12 at 7 p.m. (ET) at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, presented in partnership with The AtlanticTickets are available now. The evening will continue a series of events by The Atlantic and Sixth & I. Past events have featured the cover stories “Why Women Still Can't Have It All” and “All the Single Ladies.” Coming up tomorrowApril 16, James and Deborah Fallows will talk about their “American Futures” project.
The full May 2014 issue of The Atlantic will be available on Thursday, April 17, at and on The Atlantic’s mobile apps, and will be on newsstands next week.Watch a trailer for the May issue.