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5 ways women can boost their confidence during the COVID-19 pandemic

From practicing self-compassion to mastering a new skill, “Confidence Code” author Katty Kay offers simple steps to rebuild self-esteem.
Journalist, author and broadcaster Katty Kay on "Morning Joe"
Journalist, author and broadcaster Katty Kay on "Morning Joe"Miller Hawkins

The coronavirus pandemic is weighing heavily on women’s shoulders. According to, women are disproportionately impacted by job loss due to COVID-19.

Black women in particular are nearly twice as likely as men to have been laid off, furloughed or had their hours cut due to the pandemic. Women are also shouldering a much heavier share of household labor and caregiving. Women who work full-time and have partners and children are more than twice as likely as men in the same situation to feel that they have more to do than they can possibly handle, at 31 percent of women versus just 13 percent of men.

“Women are not only losing jobs at a higher rate than men, but then they are handling the lion’s share of childcare and household activities, which makes this time particularly challenging for them,” said Katty Kay, co-author of “The Confidence Code”. “There’s that initial setback to your confidence when your career is no longer going so well, and now suddenly you feel like you’re dealing with way too much.”

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Interestingly, among women and men who have full-time jobs, partners and children, women are spending an average of 7.4 more hours per week than men on childcare, 5.3 more hours than men when caring for elderly or sick relatives and 7 more hours than men on housework — which adds up to a difference of almost 20 hours per week — the equivalent of a part-time job, according to

As the pandemic continues to overburden women and negatively impact their self-esteem, there are fortunately some simple steps that can go a long way for providing a boost of confidence in these dark times. Here are some helpful tips:

Practice self-compassion

Keep in mind that you are human and a part of the human condition, which is challenging at this point in time. Kay encourages women to speak to themselves like they would speak to a loved one. “Put yourself in the position of your best friend and consider how would you talk to her in this moment,” Kay said. “Use that same kind approach toward yourself.”

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Accept that this is beyond your control

For example, if you lost your job, or feel inadequate helping your children with remote learning, remind yourself that this is all beyond your control. “Don’t make this time about you and your weaknesses,” Kay said. “Know that it’s about something much bigger than you.” Bottom line: don’t take it personally and know that this too shall pass.

RELATED: How to accept what's beyond your control in a COVID-19 world

Master new skills

Embrace the challenges that this time is throwing your way by setting out to take control of small things, such as learning a new skill like video editing, coding or mastering Zoom calls for work. “Consider the challenges brought on by Zoom and working remotely,” Kay said. “Make a conscious effort to master virtual working so that you can get that confidence boost. Put your best self forward by navigating the best ways to present yourself, the best lighting for your home office, how to make your voice heard and how to be succinct but impactful at the same time.”

Show resilience

Job searching can be incredibly discouraging, especially during a pandemic, but showing great resilience by applying to many jobs and going above and beyond in your search can provide a much-needed confidence boost, Kay said. She encourages women to step outside of their comfort zone and apply for new opportunities, even if they seem like a reach or go beyond the realm of their past work experience.

RELATED: Stephanie Ruhle: 5 ways to get ahead while job-searching during the pandemic

Get involved in your community

“When you find a way to become active in your community and help others, it makes you feel good about yourself as well,” Kay said. Women can boost their confidence by finding ways for their voice to be heard in their community or organizing something for others. Consider organizing a meal train for a family in need or advocating for an issue you feel passionate about. All of this will extend your energy outward and your self-confidence will reap the benefits.