Women's Confidence Why Key Learnings Sources Of Confidence Local Results Methodology Spread The Word

The Largest Global Study to
Understand, Measure and Increase

Women's Confidence

Why does women’s confidence matter? Because the more confident women are, the easier it is for them to act. Confidence empowers women to talk, write, raise their hands, raise their fists, get involved in politics and even start a business. A lack of confidence can just as easily prevent women from thriving on a personal level as it can inhibit them from contributing to their communities in a meaningful way. These matters impact us all. Because when women thrive, societies prosper.
We would like to provide extensive data to world actors of civil society, as well as public and private sectors in order to reach businesses, organizations, academics, committed feminists and all curious readers who want to increase women’s confidence. We wish to help them skip the trial and error process, and immediately address what drives confidence, what compromises it and where it’s most needed.







The largest study yet on women's confidence.

Key learnings

Confidence is relational, you can’t increase it on your own.

Confidence is relational, you can’t increase it on your own.

Contrary to popular belief, confidence is not a personal matter or an individual possession. It’s something that you receive, give and grow with others. There is strength in joining forces: increasing confidence is something collective.

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Your confidence comes from 14 different sources.

Your confidence comes from 14 different sources.

Confidence is not binary, the world is not made of people who are confident and people who aren’t. Confidence stems from 14 different sources, with each a different role to play in helping you navigate the everyday world.

14 sources of confidence

Global women’s confidence is rather low.

Global women’s confidence is rather low.

Few women around the world actually feel extremely confident. The confidence that we often wish for, is really nothing more than an ideal. There is rarely any truth to the fact that others are exceedingly more confident than we are.

Local Results for 11 countries

The roads to confidence are pretty much the same everywhere.

The roads to confidence are pretty much the same everywhere.

Women around the world build their confidence in very similar ways. In spite of culture, life experience and personality some confidence sources are more sought out than others. This is because confidence always serves the same purpose: facilitating social-assimilation.

What drives and compromises confidence globally

14 sources of confidence

Confidence can not be defined by one thing, it stems from 14 different sources. The way we draw on them depends on our personalities, the hour of the day, the stage our lives are in... These 14 sources of confidence range in kind, from the most exterior to the most interior.

There is a space between our will to act and the actual action. We navigate this space everyday, even in small things like riding a bike or jumping a step. So we draw from 14 different sources of confidence to shorten that space, and make it easier to act.
The established register refers to all stable elements of one’s life, those they believe will not and cannot change. A person draws confidence from the established register when they’re reassured by the routine they are following.
The interior register refers to all the aspects of one's past, baggage, beliefs, and convictions that legitimize their identity and give them purpose in a social environment. A person draws confidence from the interior register when their actions or aspirations find meaning within their personal journeys.
The normative register refers to all norms or rules (whether implicit or explicit) that an individual acknowledges and feels protected by. A person draws confidence from normative sources when they find comfort in the fact that they are doing things the “right” way (respecting the status quo).
The mythical register refers to all the myths, representations and collective narratives that people use to guide their actions. A person draws self confidence from mythical sources when they are inspired or when they find legitimacy in heroes (fictional or real), ideals and/or faith.
Form of confidence drawn from a subconscious integration of the existence of my material environment and operational motor functions.
❝ I draw confidence from my ability to adapt my route when there’s a table in the middle of the room. ❞
Form of confidence drawn from habits, integrated common sense and everyday life.
❝ I draw confidence from the fact that nothing has ever happened to me, because that makes me feel secure. ❞
Form of confidence drawn from certainty in one’s intellectual background: culture, knowledge, expertise, diplomas.
❝ I draw confidence from the fact that I know my subject material. This makes me feel legitimate when I speak in public. ❞
Form of confidence drawn from a experiential certainty and one’s intuitive ability.
❝ I draw confidence from my instinct to be able to make important decisions. ❞
Form of confidence drawn from feeling certainty in one’s path or ability. Being where one needs to be.
❝ I draw confidence from my ability to rise to the occasion when I’m told to reconsider or rewrite an idea at my job. ❞
Form of confidence drawn from a capacity of resilience, and acceptance of one’s destiny.
❝ I draw confidence from my belief in destiny, even when something bad happens to me, because I know it doesn’t depend on me. ❞
Form of confidence drawn from the tension between guilt or shame, and a necessity to take action.
❝ I draw confidence from the permanent fight between my desire to get on stage, and my fear of being paralyzed by stress. ❞
Form of confidence drawn from embracing standardized tangible signs of differentiation, such as clothing or makeup choices.
❝ I draw confidence from my knowledge of the proper dress- codes for each situation, it helps me to feel and appear like I belong. ❞
Form of confidence drawn from subconscious integration of standards, values and society’s coercitive power over individual actions.
❝ I draw confidence from the knowledge that my behavior will not be seen as crazy when I walk around town. ❞
Form of confidence drawn from others’ validation, approval and encouragement.
❝ I draw confidence from the fact that my manager values and endorses my actions when I take initiative at work. ❞
Form of confidence drawn from the certainty of being protected or guided by a metaphysical presence (God, destiny, a lucky star...).
❝ I draw confidence from my natal chart when I pass exams. ❞
Form of confidence drawn from a form of transgression, a hijacking of established standards.
❝ I draw confidence from the fact that I do what I want even if it contradicts standards and creates chaos. ❞
Form of confidence drawn from a subconscious reference to an archetype or a collective image.
❝ I draw confidence from my ability to challenge expectations others can impose on my femininity. ❞
Form of confidence drawn from a capacity to have a positive outlook on life or idealize it, even in dire straits.
❝ I draw confidence from the fact that if I lost my job, I am convinced that I will find a better one. ❞

Local Results

Self-confidence is social and cultural. The weight of tradition, political conditions, the place of feminism, among numerous other factors, influence cultural definitions of self-confidence. We have measured general levels and the importance of each source of confidence in 11 countries.

Russian Confidence Russian Confidence
Emancipated by work and economic prosperity, Russian women feel that they are experiencing political changes in their very core. Nonetheless, everyday life, and traditional family ties offer them a feeling of stability.
What compromises Russian Confidence
5.7 Certainties 5.8 Resilience
What drives Russian Confidence
7.3 Routine 7.6 Support-System

More about Russian Confidence

Mexican Confidence Mexican Confidence
Raised in a country where feminicidios are numerous, Mexican women nonetheless feel very self-confident. They find strength in their education and the support of their loved ones.
What compromises Mexican Confidence
6.6 Resilience

More about Mexican Confidence

Korean Confidence Korean Confidence
Amidst an ever-changing and competitive society, Korean women feel the need to be supported and surrounded by their loved ones who give them a sense of stability.
What compromises Korean Confidence
5.0 Certainties 5.2 Resilience

More about Korean Confidence

Japanese Confidence Japanese Confidence
Japanese women’s ability to keep face can make them appear cold or distant. However, this is done in an effort to establish homogeneity, as showing confidence is not valued in Japan.
What compromises Japanese Confidence
4.4 Utopias
What drives Japanese Confidence
5.2 Resilience 5.3 Routine 5.4 Improving

More about Japanese Confidence

Hong Kong Confidence Hong Kong Confidence
Women in Hong Kong experience confidence building as an internal fight. This fight represents the difficult path between respecting the rules of society and forging one’s destiny.
What compromises Hong Kong Confidence
5.0 Transgression 5.4 Certainties

More about Hong Kong Confidence

German Confidence German Confidence
In Germany, women oscillate between strong-willed behaviour and doubt of both the short and long-term future.
What compromises German Confidence
5.5 Utopias 5.7 Resilience

More about German Confidence

Chinese Confidence Chinese Confidence
Chinese women feel torn between traditional cultural values and their desire to thrive independently and be themselves.
What compromises Chinese Confidence
6.1 Resemblance 6.2 Resilience
What drives Chinese Confidence
7.3 Improving

More about Chinese Confidence

British Confidence British Confidence
Influenced by a liberal and cosmopolitan culture, British women believe that diversity is a source of strength; however, their economic instability makes it difficult to envision the future.
What compromises British Confidence
5.3 Utopias 5.4 Resilience

More about British Confidence

Australian Confidence Australian Confidence
Australian women believe that whatever issue you’re dealing with, you can benefit from the help of others. The mateship ideal, a legacy inherited from the first settlers, is a major value of Australian women’s confidence.
What compromises Australian Confidence
5.5 Resilience 5.6 Utopias
What drives Australian Confidence
6.7 Support-System 6.7 Intuition 7.2 Routine

More about Australian Confidence

American Confidence American Confidence
While confidence in the USA is often considered to be a personal and individual matter, women find that receiving support and recognition from others helps to make them feel more confident.
What compromises American Confidence
5.9 Resilience 6.1 Utopias

More about American Confidence

French Confidence French Confidence
Influenced by strong feminist figures, French women are perceived as free-minded, self-assured and at ease when speaking publicly. But it turns out that they feel doubtful about their life path.
What compromises French Confidence
3.3 Utopias 5.6 Vocation

More about French Confidence


We have attempted to grasp the multifaceted phenomenon of confidence by examining the fields of philosophy, sociology, psychology, psychoanalysis and practical psychology. We identified 14 different sources of confidence, led qualitative interviews, and launched a quantitative survey in 10 countries.

Take action!

The purpose of the Women’s Confidence initiative is to understand, measure and increase women’s confidence globally. We would like to provide extensive data to world actors of civil society, as well as public and private sectors in order to skip the trial and error process, and increase women’s sense of confidence.

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Would you like to share the report? The more we share, the more we participate in increasing women’s confidence. Join us on social media!

Send feedback

If you have great ideas or projects that could benefit our cause, we would love to discuss them with you. Share your feedback and chat with us!

IT Cosmetics

IT Cosmetics commissioned this survey. Since launch in 2008, IT Cosmetics has been committed to helping women around the world look beautiful and feel self- confident. Through this study and a corresponding brand campaign, IT Cosmetics is asserting itself as a cultural actor and agent of positive societal change.

IT Cosmetics


Eranos led this survey. Since 2005, our strategic consulting firm has been committed to reconciling companies and societies. We bridge humanities and businesses to help global corporations fulfill their mission of actors of civilization.


To all the people who have contributed to this mission in one way or another, to all the women who have opened their homes to us and shared their stories, to all the academic experts who shared their work and research with us, to all the great witnesses who shared their experiences with us, we would like to say: thank you.

Authors: Morgane Beyrend, Julia Colussi-Corte, Camille Jacquey, Salomé Kennedy. Mission Manager: Emma Monsaingeon. Under the direction of: Michaël V. Dandrieux, Ph.D. & Anthony Mahé, Ph.D. Illustrations: Marion Thomas- Mauro. Photos: Eranos.

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