Do Women Wait Too Long Before Claiming Power?

Do women handle recognition and power differently than men?

In a recent interview, Karen Moses, Chief Operating Officer of Australia's Origin Energy put it this way:  

The key difference I see between men and women at work is that the men are prepared to demand to be heard and recognized before they have demonstrated their worth.  Women wait to be recognized well past the time when their value is clear to everyone around them.  
I encourage women to accept that they have an equal right to be there, to recognize the value of their contribution and to not apologize for their difference.  

Moses really hits it on the head.  Women on the whole undervalue their contributions and are more likely to stand back and wait for someone (often a male leader) to recognize them.  Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, we valiantly lead and encourage our peers, craft novel solutions to all sorts of dilemnas, bravely take on flying monkeys and witches, yet wait for the man behind the curtain to “grant” us the power that we carried inside us from the very beginning.  

Why is it that women hold back?  Do we avoid, fear, even disdain power?  In her book Powering Up,Anne Doyle quotes Kim Campbell, former prime minister of Canada and a woman with a great attitude towards power: 


I love power.  I want it.  I'm power hungry. Not for myself but because when I have power I can accomplish things.  I can serve my community, I can help open doors for deserving people and I can influence decisions.  If you think you would exercise it ethically, don’t disdain power.  You must embrace it as the essential currency for making things happen.”

Put that way, embracing power seems much more authentic and congruent with my values.  What do you think?