Bridging the Confidence Gap

deb liu and audrey wisch


“Risk more, think less, be yourself” - this is the mantra that we’ve repeated all month to address the confidence gap that’s engulfed our young girls.

With March marking the start of Women’s History Month, I was dismayed to have learned of a staggering stat: Between ages 12 and 13, the proportion of girls who said they were not allowed to fail increased from 18 to 45 percent. This age marks a devastating transition girls often undergo from confident and unapologetic to timid, cautious, risk-averse versions of themselves. Sadly, this confidence gap continues throughout adulthood.

As a female founder, people often ask me what can we do to increase representation of women who pursue entrepreneurial paths? It all starts with how we raise women and the role models young girls have who exemplify these qualities.

I believe that confidence is an essential ingredient for turning thoughts into actions and dreams into reality. It was a crucial component that drove me to start Curious Cardinals with my co-founder, Alec, through the uncertain days of the pandemic. The confidence I gained as a competitive debater and runner in high school showed me the value of believing in myself and putting myself out there.

For instance, I learned about Carol Dweck, the Stanford University psychologist who wrote The Growth Mindset, commented on how life beyond K-12 education “rewards people who take risks and rebound.”

The authors of The Confidence Code for Girls lay out a mantra for gaining confidence I resonated with: risk more, think less, be yourself.

And Dr Nina Ansary, the author of Anonymous Is a Woman, shared wisdom that can inspire our action: “it’s hard to be what we cannot see.”


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