We conduct laboratory experiments that explore how gender stereotypes shape beliefs about ability of oneself and others in different categories of knowledge. The data reveal two patterns. First, men’s and women’s beliefs about both oneself and others exceed observed ability on average, particularly in difficult tasks. Second, overestimation of ability by both men and women varies across categories. To understand these patterns, we develop a model that separates gender stereotypes from mis-estimation of ability related to the difficulty of the task. We find that stereotypes contribute to gender gaps in self-confidence, assessments of others, and behavior in a cooperative game.