Almost one year ago we published the results of our huge study into women’s ambition across Australia.
Surveying more than 2000 women, we asked what they were looking to achieve over the next two years, and found that female ambition generally is on fire in this country, with women having and making some significant personal plans.
But we also discovered some of the key things perceived to be standing in the way of women achieving such ambitions, particularly with ‘confidence in my own abilities’ being ticked by 51% of respondents as being a potential hurdle in the way of success.
One year on we’d be curious to know how such ambitions are tracking.
We’d also be curious to know, given this survey was anonymous, how progress on such ambitions would now be tracking if these questions had been asked in full view of the respondent’s family, friends and colleagues?
Would the responses have been different? Would women have underplayed their ambitions?
I’d like to think that such disclosures would make achieving ambitions a little easier. If those who love, support and/or at least appreciate you can understand and know what you’re aiming to achieve, they can (and should) do everything possible to make it that little bit easier for you to get there.
But of course the responses to our questions on ambition may have been different in the first place, if those participating had known their family and friends may hear about them.
What we can suggest is that any lack of confidence women feel (and this research did find that confidence is an issue) is no doubt going to prevent some women from voicing ambitions aloud.
The risk of failure may seem less difficult to deal with if nobody actually knows you tried in the first place.
This coming International Women’s Day, the theme is ‘Press For Progress’, and we will be sharing plenty of ideas on Women’s Agenda on how to do that in the weeks to come — particularly ideas around what more governments and employers can and must do to create more opportunities for women and girls to thrive.
In the meantime, voicing your ambitions could be a personal way to ‘press for progress’ in your own career. Tell a mentor, a boss, a partner, a friend, or whoever will listen, what you’re looking to achieve. Maybe they won’t be as supportive as you’d like, but maybe they’ll offer a little bit of added help, and even keep you in mind when they learn or hear about an opportunity that’s relevant to what you’re looking to achieve.
And that little added risk of failure by having somebody know what you’re trying to do, may just offer some added motivation.
Other findings of interest from the report:
When asked to select from a wide range of ambitions which best applied to them over the next 24 months:
- 39% said they’re ‘looking to earn more’, which was the most popular response.
- 33% said they’re ‘aiming to get promoted’
- 32% said they’re ‘looking for a new role’
- 31% said they’re ‘looking to undertake further education’
- 11% said they’re ‘looking to start a business’
- 12% said they’re ‘looking to change industry sectors’
- 22% said they’re ‘looking to achieve better flexible working options’
- 12% said they’re planning on having a baby in the next two years.
And what will get in the way? When given a number of options regarding what, if anything, could get in the way of them achieving their ambitions over the next 24 months:
- 51% said ‘confidence in my abilities’
- 16% said a lack of qualifications could be a problem
- Only 17% of respondents said a ‘lack of role models’ could be a problem.
- 31% said caring responsibilities could prove challenging (around a third of ALL respondents indicated they have children under 10 at home)
- 12% listed the ‘cost of childcare’ as an obstacle
- 23% indicated a ‘a lack of personal finance’ could get in the way
- 24% said a ‘lack of employer support’
- 11% said a ‘lack of government support’
- 9% said a ‘lack of family support’.
- 9% said ‘bad health or a disability’
- 13% said ‘none of the above will stop me’.