Nurose Karim, MD

International Stroke Conference 2021
March 17–19, 2021
Session: Imposter Syndrome – Our Stories

“Perfectionism is a sick mindset.”
— Darshan H Mehta

There is no formal definition of imposter syndrome, but it is defined vaguely as to doubt your abilities and capabilities. It is a feeling of discomfort, second-guessing, and mild anxiety in the workplace, especially for women.

The term gets its origin in 1978 when two psychologists, Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes, used the concept of “imposter phenomena” while studying high-achieving women. They found that despite stellar academic and professional achievements, women who experience the imposter phenomenon kept on believing that they are really not bright enough, and they question themselves if they are deserving of accolades.

This session put up a healthy discussion among women pointing out when they first recognized that they are suffering from imposter syndrome. It also discussed why imposter syndrome exists in the first place and what role workplace systems play in fostering and exacerbating it in women. Leaders must create a culture for women and people of color that addresses systemic bias and racism. By doing so, we can reduce the experiences that culminate in so-called imposter syndrome among employees from marginalized communities — or, at the very least, help those employees channel healthy self-doubt into positive motivation, which is best fostered within a supportive work culture.