Forbes Contributor Kathy Caprino sets the record straight about the claim that women are less ambitious than men. Women are as ambitious, if not more ambitious than most men, but is there something else holding them back? Kathy Caprino explains.
I’ve heard over and over in the past several years reference to the idea that professional women aren’t as ambitious as men. Disappointingly, I even heard Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook (whom I deeply admire) mention this reported “lack of ambition” in women on The Charlie Rose show recently. To Mr. Rose she declared, “Until women are ambitious as men, they’re not going to achieve as much as men.” There have been scores of articles written on the topic, including a 2004 Harvard Business Review piece, “Do Women Lack Ambition?”
As a very ambitious professional woman who supports the advancement of other ambitious women, I’m truly sick of this myth. I can tell you, from working with and speaking to thousands of professional women in the past eight years, it’s simply not accurate. Ambition is not the issue, and lack of ambition is NOT what holds women back. It’s the COST of ambition – and the struggle women face in pursuing their ambitions — that is at the heart of why we have so few women leaders today, and why women are achieving less and not reaching as high as men in corporate America.
Only when we address the root problem that keeps women from their professional ambitions, will we pave the way to greater progress.