This originally appeared on Forbes on January 30, 2023.
Historically, the concept of success has been epitomized through characterizations of men. As a result, when men are successful, their achievements are often attributed to their innate ability, without any regard for the role that luck — as a result of their privileges — plays in propelling them forward. On the flip side, women are typically viewed as being more passive passengers in their successful journeys. So, when they do succeed, it can feel unexpected. It can feel as if they were simply just…lucky.
Recent research out of The Inclusion Initiative from The London School of Economics found that people frequently confuse luck with ability — especially as it relates to men and women. This has implications for how we view workplace mistakes, can serve as the basis for gender discrimination, and contribute to exacerbating the gender pay gap.