The Confidence Factor for Women: The War Against Progress

Women are making progress. We are committed to filling more leadership roles with the most exceptional women who are ready to embrace their confidence and show up in the market place as premium leaders. However, today, I am conducting research for an upcoming project and it became clear to me that the entertainment value of watching women fail is still a battle that needs to be addressed.

I have been reading numerous articles about Elizabeth Holmes, the CEO of Theranos, and the instant depreciation of her company, credibility and personal fortune listed all over Forbes, Fortune, WSJ and the New York Times as they discuss that her company is now worth “below my 5 year-old daughter (who has earned around $1.50 for various chores, of which 75 cents remains,” (Fortune).

Then, I started to read about Merissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, as the battles to save her seat on the board continues. Every article starts with more speculation about being fired (and the benefit of her stepping down), than about her efforts and investments as a leader.

Or how about the latest news that the ride-sharing giant, Uber, has raised $3.5 Billion from a hedge fund in Saudi Arabia; a country which denies women the right to own a drivers license. Not one mention in their ability to continue to hold their $62B valuation will they fight for the rights of women to have such a basic right, especially, since their valuation is based on women who use the popular ride share app to earn additional income. Just basic human rights, only a mention.

Last, but not least, I turn on my television to write the final piece of my research and whether it is politics or reality television, women are being insulted and disrespected without explanation. Watching The Real Housewives Franchise actually made my blood boil as women, who seemed to start building genuine relationships, reduce themselves to bickering and constant disrespectful name calling, in the name of building viability for their multi-million dollar brands and fame.

No wonder women have so much apprehension about increasing the percentage of women at the top.

Most of the “negative news” and images that are publicized about women leaders are published by male owned entities, which do not invest in gender-based D&I initiatives. A wise politician once told me that when you do not own the medium, you cannot control the intended message. As women, we are least likely to argue that if Elizabeth Holmes were “Ted Holmes,” the loss of her wealth would never be compared to a 5-year old. Rather “Ted” would be “in the middle of a reassessment of his team within the next 18 months,” (my assumed headline). If Merissa Mayor were “Murry” Mayer, he would be “sourcing new investors for an upcoming M&A announcement,” (my assumed headline). And the Real House Husbands would never feature male bashing, and I can assure you Andy Cohen would never want to ruin his positive and humble image.

We need to collectively disrupt the images of negativity that hinders our positive impact. The thought that when women become “leaders,” we are combative, divas, and compared to children in the press, is absolutely false. However, as a collective, there are many women who appreciate the entertainment value of watching other women fail. Hence, this the war against women.

I commenced the Confidence Factor for Women in 2015 and have reached out to HUNDREDS of women business owners and organizations personally, and the subtle tone when women leaders start a collaborative conversation with a degree of hesitation due to past failures with other women. The need to prove yourself for an extended time before women leaders invest in other leaders is factual.

Face it, there is an image of women that needs work. For every great stride that women make to close the leadership gap, there is another attack on our credibility, which reminds us that we have more work to do. But you cannot win a war that you are not confident enough to collaborate and fight, so we can repair our image for future generations.

Let’s collaborate and end the non stop negativity to stop women from claiming their Confidence Factor! We have to bring women out of hiding who remain in safety because they fear the ridicule and adversarial behavior that leadership attracts. There are exceptional women who continue to be absent.

To learn more about joining the Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership movement for exceptional leaders, visit

Carol Sankar is a business advisor for high level executives, service based visionaries and a leadership expert who is committed to assisting passionate, high-achieving leaders simplify their lives while increasing revenue by becoming productive, not working harder.Carol has been featured in Madame Noire, LearnVest, The Steve Harvey TV Show,, TEDx, Daily Worth, Entrepreneur Magazine and Essence Magazine

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