Did you know that according to a 2005 study conducted by Catalyst, while women comprise half of the workforce and more than half of all college graduates, less than 20 percent of all Fortune 500 corporate officers and less than 2 percent of Fortune 500 chief executive officers are female? How will we ever catch up?

Whether you’re the boss or not, female leaders across the board credit confidence as one of the top reasons for their success. Kristin O’Connor, who started her Richmond, Virginia-based sound and production studio at the age of 23, is a testament to that. O’Connor attributes her success — a seven-year journey from a completely broke post-grad to the CEO of a business that draws in over $1 million annually in contracts — to naïve fearlessness.

“Everyone thought we were crazy because there were well-established companies in the area, but I never thought we would fail,” says O’Connor.

In this skewed economy, unbridled confidence and loving one’s self enough to walk away from a dead-end situation may be the only weapons a woman has against the glass ceiling. If you’re ready to move up to bigger and better things, here are four sure-fire ways to kick off your ascent to the top:

1. Speak Loudly and Often.
“The best way to stand out against your peers is to write and speak your way to a promotion,” states Don Asher, author of How to Get Any Job with Any Major . Ladies, this especially applies to you. Catalyst reports one of the main reasons women don’t excel in the workplace is that they tend to be perceived as mild, sensitive and emotional, and are often judged as better caretakers than decision-makers. To combat this stereotype, show your boss that you’ve got a voice and you’re not afraid to use it.