Digital Government Experience with the Gender Confidence Gap

Digital Government Experience with the Gender Confidence Gap featured image

The sample size is small so the finding should be taken with a grain of salt.

Prior to launching our GovConnect podcast, we compiled our all-star list of guests that we wanted to interview from government technology and government innovation offices. Interestingly, I've noticed a very different response from the men that I have reached out to versus the women. It’s more difficult to get women to commit to talking about themselves and their work.

I must caveat these findings by acknowledging that our show is new and we're not exactly Forbes reaching out, requesting an interview. So for some women, our show may not be worth their time. But that feels like too simplistic of reasoning and there shouldn't be that much variance between the men and women that we've reached out to.

Is it me? 

Then, I started to look at myself, maybe it was it's been the way that I've been approaching the guests and perhaps not doing so in a way that would make each sex equally interested or welcomed.
Ideally, I would have reached out to potential guests in equal portions male and female, but it’s been closer to 60/40 male to female split.

It is a smaller pool of women to choose from, just as a fact of the demographic makeup of executives in technology in local government. This post has no definitive finding or message. It has a lot more questions than answers. Or maybe it's just my network of contacts in govtech that tends to skew predominantly male. But, this seems less likely because I used male acquaintances to help make warm introductions on my behalf in order to reach out to female guests. Likewise, I've used female acquaintances to reach out to potential male guests. And the result is that it's been very difficult to find a woman to commit to being guests on the show.

Unique or Trend?

As this trend has revealed itself to me, I dug into research and came across what Claire Shipman and Katty Kay have described as the Confidence Gap, in that women are less likely to be involved in self-promotion and are just less inclined to talk about themselves and their work.

This is a generalization, not true of all women, but it seems to be what I'm seeing firsthand.

What do you think? Could I be missing from my own actions or do you think it’s a broader trend?

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