By Mikayla Fasullo
On Monday Nov. 9, the Ryerson Women in Leadership (RWiL) had a confidence gap meeting that they say will change the way women feel about themselves in the workplace.
At the RCC, the RWiL’s conference brought together women who are ready to step out of their comfort zones and fill their “confidence gap” — the invisible idea that can initiate a women’s self doubt. The group discussed what the confidence gap is, what it does to your career and the steps a person can take to overcome it.
“With insecure job markets and easily replaceable staff employees are becoming more hesitant to speak up,” said RWiL’s director of communication and administration Jessica Ketwaroo-Green. “We will show you ways we can understand what the confidence gap is in order to get ahead of it.”
With a warm welcome at the front door, the women made name tags for themselves. Refreshments and snacks were provided while the rooms vibe was vibrant and inviting.
“It’s good to join different groups on campus,” said group member Lee North. “I always like to hear other people’s opinions and I’d like to get inspired.”
At last year’s conference, women were intrigued to get involved, so the RWiL moved forward to create a conference where women talked about the confidence gap.
Jane Wang, president of RWiL, explains that the group wants to prepare women for the workforce. “We really want to invest in these women,” she said.
Not only marketed toward women, the group invites all students in every faculty. Consisting of a team of students coming from arts, communications, RTA, engineering, science and other programs, this year the group is focused on getting men into the conversation.
“It is important for men to get involved and understand the benefits of having more women as executives or board members,” Wang said.
Okin Gladys was a guest speaker at the event who shared her experience being a women in the workplace. Gladys studied political science and government at University of Toronto and is now a senior director of workforce development and corporate partners at Goodwill Industries in Toronto.
Gladys explained that the confidence gap looks different for men than it does for women. “I have never gone to a session where men are talking about the confidence gap,” she said, noting that men are less likely to notice the issue making it harder to address in the workplace.
Gladys bashed the hope that someone will simply notice all of your hard work, and that this is especially true if you’re a woman.
“The nature of work has changed so much. You can’t kill yourself to do work and hope that someone’s gonna notice you,” she said, adding that a lot of job advancement now boils down to networking — a realm many woman can be forcefully left out of.
Gladys shares that she’s still learning about herself everyday. “It’s possible to fill the gap if you choose, but it’s not easy to do,” she said.