Why don’t more women feel like they’ve achieved success?

New study finds only 1 in 4 women believe they’re successful.

Does power equal success for most women?Success is a tough thing to define. Are you successful when you can support your family or do you have to be rich? Is success measured in money, wealth, or something more intangible?

The difficulty in nailing down what success is may be contributing to a finding in a study from Northwestern Mutual that show only about one in four women actually believe they’ve achieved success. As a result, “while U.S. women hold 50 percent of professional jobs and 35 percent of managerial roles, research points out that this group still doesn’t declare themselves successful.”

According to the original study, this is how women define success:

  • 84% believe success is tied to “being happy”
  • 79% include having enough money to pay the bills
  • 79% also believe “being healthy” is involved, too

With intangible goals like happiness and healthiness involved, it may explain why most women still feel like success is just out of their reach. However, Joann Eisenhart, Ph.D. thinks part of the problem is how we define success. She believes more than any of the answers given above, success is tied to power.

“Power is seen as an important component of leadership, and the effective use of power is seen as critical to the success of executives. Yet women are often uncomfortable with—and conflicted by—the use of power,” Eisenhart states.

Eisenhart believes power comes from 5 sources:

  1. Position
  2. Expertise and credibility
  3. Relationships
  4. Personal qualities
  5. Empowering others

Understanding these sources, not fearing power and taking positive steps are key to women gaining power, and – as a result – feeling more successful.

Financial empowerment may be the key

Taking steps to feel more in control of your own destiny and the course of your career at work may help you to feel more successful, but financial empowerment in your daily life may also play a key role.

“Financial stability and a feeling that you’re in control of your future plays a big role in how successful you feel,” says April Lewis, Director of Communications at Consolidated Credit. “If you can get your outlook to a point where you feel confident that you can weather whatever may come, then feeling successful is going to follow naturally.”

Consolidated Credit recommends taking the following steps to feel more financially empowered:

  • Never leave anything to chance or guesswork. The more you know, the more in control you’re going to feel because you know where everything is and where it’s going.
  • Know your debt, then take control of it. Take time to familiarize yourself with every account and every loan. Know your interest rates, limits, rewards, and terms down to the last detail so you can prioritize debt payoff and manage debt effectively.
  • Build yourself a financial safety net. Feeling like you’d have to rely on others or turn to government assistance if something goes wrong is going to leave you feeling completely out of control. Knowing you have enough savings in place to weather financial storms on the horizon will go a long way in making you feel empowered.
  • Don’t be afraid to build wealth. People tend to shy away from long-term savings and investments because it’s intimidating and difficult to understand, but building wealth is another key way to feel financially successful. So whether you take time to educated yourself on things like retirement savings or you consult a financial professional, do what you need to do to build the best positive net worth possible.

Of course, it’s impossible to empowered when fear of debt is holding you back and weighing you down. If debt is keeping you from achieving success, we can help. Call Consolidated Credit at to request a free debt and budget evaluation with a certified credit counselor.

Press Inquiries

April Lewis-Parks
Director of Education and Public Relations

AParks@consolidatedcredit.org
1-800-728-3632 x 9344