Women in leadership roles may be able to bolster self-esteem and improve public speaking skills with a single framed photograph of Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama. The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology has determined that pictures of famous, powerful female leaders boost confidence levels in women.
In the study, 149 women were shown photographs of well-known leaders prior to giving public speeches. The women were shown photos of either Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel or no photo at all. Observations concluded that women who were shown photographs of female leaders had longer talking times than that of women who were shown a male leader or nothing at all.
The Journal determined:
“Empowered behavior also mediated the effects of female role models on women’s self-evaluated performance. In sum, subtle exposures to highly successful female leaders inspired women’s behavior and self-evaluations in stressful leadership tasks.”
If a social experiment such as this one can conclude that 149 women are empowered in a single step, what are the possibilities for younger generations of girls and women?
Freelancers Union Contributing Writer Lindsay Van Thorten addressed photographed role models and their presence in the lives of girls. “The study sought to confirm evidence that when girls see women outside of stereotyped roles, they become more likely to pursue those non-traditional roles,” said Van Thorten, “For example, exposing girls to women in STEM careers increases their likelihood of pursuing those roles.”
Does it really work?
To boost your confidence levels in the workplace and leadership task roles, try the follow steps:
- Hang a framed photograph of a female leader, or role model, in your home office or place of business. For girls and young women, hang pictures of women leaders in common areas of the home such as the dinning room, kitchen or hallways.
- Read autobiographies, memoirs and web articles written by well-known women in positions of power. Maya Angelou, Arianna Huffington, Ann Richards and Oprah Winfrey have been studied at length, and have books written by and about them.
- Contributions and innovations made throughout the annals of history have been at the hands and great minds of women. Learn about them and share their stories with younger generations of women via blogs, news articles, books and even your Pinterest account.
Whose photograph will you gain a boost in confidence from? Share your thoughts with me @GerilynWrites. Together we can open up a dialogue for women, by women. I’m sticking with the First Lady Michelle Obama, and will add more female leaders to my social media accounts to help other young women and girls gain the confidence they need to take on leadership tasks.