Imposter Syndrome is Hitting Women a Bit Harder. How Do You Fight Back?

By Just Her | May 21, 2021
Imposter Syndrome, a phenomenon when self-doubt continues while success makes it even worse. - By Nikita Arya


When you grind yourself under immense pressure being unacknowledged, self-doubt kicks in easy. But some people have found themselves undeserving of the rarefied position they hold even when the world applauds them. Does the latter sound more relatable? 

We all experience our moments of self-doubt at some point in life, however, women are likely to experience imposter syndrome more than men. Why is it so? Let’s delve deeper.


Imposter Syndrome: When Success Makes Self-Doubt Even Worse 


Imposter syndrome is not about a few encounters with self-doubt on a rough day. It’s a phenomenon where one believes themselves to be a fraud who is fooling others into believing that they’re competent while actually, they’re not. It is this persistent fear of losing all the success as soon as your employer finds out about your incompetency. Someone with imposter syndrome will attribute their success to external factors such as luck, misjudgment or charm, and never acknowledges their capabilities even when everyone else does. 

As for a woman, imposter feelings come quite naturally and grow even deeper as she reaches a C-suite position. 


Imposter Syndrome Likely to Affect Women in the Workforce and How

Women suffering from imposter syndrome can blame the patriarchal society that constantly reminds them of not being able to climb up the corporate ladder. This is how:

1. While recruiters try and hire female employees with an approach towards making their organizations more inclusive, which is unlike the stereotypes, a woman might feel less deserving. For instance, a C-level woman might feel like an imposter to be the only woman sitting in a boardroom as women are traditionally underrepresented in this field. This eventually makes her wonder if she is capable enough for the job or she is hired just to maintain gender parity.

2. How you perceive the process of success also makes you develop this imposter-like feeling. In imposter syndrome, people tend to think that the successful lot are born talented and don’t require working hard as much as the imposters do. This can make the imposters believe that they are just pretending to be successful while actually, it’s just the hard work and luck streak that does well for them.


4 Steps to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

1. Break Silence & Talk About It

Speaking about your fraudulent feelings will take the unnecessary shame off your chest and will make you feel free of the fear. Talk about it among family and colleagues and you might discover other people who feel the same way as you do.

2. Differentiate between Facts & Feelings 

What you feel about yourself isn’t always true while facts remain indisputable. So, try and differentiate between facts and feelings. Everyone at work praises you for the last week’s presentation because only a deserving person receives praises, no matter how the person feels about themselves. 

3. Change the narrative

While you believe that achieving success by working hard is not the real way, try to change your narrative. Instead of taking it as a sign of a less-deserving person, embrace the fact that you give your 100% to achieve excellence. And in the end, you receive all appreciation for it! Isn’t it great?

4. Take Credit for Your Achievements 

Women, in general, tend to attribute their successes to luck or help from others, and not to their natural abilities and skills. Don’t explain your achievements, just take credit for them. 


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