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8th March, 2023

Confidence Culture: Changing women, not the world

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Event Details

8th March, 2023
18:30 - 19:45
Bayes Business School, 106 Bunhill Row, EC1Y 8TZ or Online

The Bayes Global Women’s Leadership Programme is pleased to welcome Professor Shani Orgad (LSE) and Professor Rosalind
Gill (City) to discuss their best-selling book Confidence Culture (Duke, 2022). The event will be moderated by GWLP MBA Scholar Clarice Metzger.

The book argues that imperatives directed at women to “love your body” and “believe in yourself” imply that psychological blocks hold women back rather than entrenched social injustices. Calls on women to embrace confidence may (temporarily) help women feel good (“you go girl!”) but end up blaming women for inequality whose roots are in systemic and structural arrangements.

Confidence culture, they argue, has become the new common-sense – taken for granted in workplaces, the welfare system, and even international development initiatives. So much so that whenever the issue of gender inequality is discussed, the idea that it is caused by women’s confidence deficit is never far behind; trailing a stream of confidence-boosting workshops and leadership programmes that fail to address institutional sexism, racism, or disablism, let alone the crises in care or cost of living.

The book has been discussed in the New York TimesFinancial TimesWashington PostEl Pais, and Die Zeit among many other media. In this talk, Shani and Rosalind present their critique of the confidence cult, and argue for a feminism that goes beyond its individualising and neoliberal terms.

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