Key Advice for Women Working in Male-Dominated Sectors

Category : Employment/Career Center
Posted By : Ambrose Onyango
Posted Date : 18 Nov 2018 02:50 hrs

Women-working-male-dominated-sectorsWomen are now making their presence felt in various sectors that were previously the preserve of men. Such male-dominated sectors include technology and construction sectors. However, other women find it hard to break into and thrive in such fields. Here is some key advice for women working in male-dominated sectors.

Speak Up

One of the best things that you can do for yourself as a woman working in a male-dominated sector is to speak up, not just about your needs but those of other women too. This calls for a degree of assertiveness and self-confidence that must be nurtured.

Men are used to speaking up about what they want. For example, they will freely tell their supervisors about which new projects they would like to be involved with. However, some women may do their work quietly and wait to be called upon to join a team working on a new project.

That lack of assertiveness will not take you far. Stand up and be heard. Voice your needs and they will be given attention.

Help Other Women

Sometimes, women are their own worst enemies. This shouldn’t be the case if you are working in a male-dominated sector. Help any other women in your field and mentor them so that they grow and break into the higher levels of management.

This approach will ensure that the number of women in that field will increase and it will get easier for a larger number of women to demand that their unique needs be met.

Consider this one simple illustration of how numbers can be important. How easy is it for one woman to demand for a dedicated washroom for her at the workplace? Wouldn’t it be easier for separate washrooms to be provided if there were a dozen women in the same company? The message is clear- help other women and you will ultimately benefit from your efforts to help others.

Recognize Your Worth

The key advice for women working in male-dominated sectors cannot be complete until those women learn that they should not let anyone define what they are worth or what they can and cannot do.

Look within and identify your abilities. Nurture those abilities and showcase them at every opportunity. For example, if you realize that you have a knack for coding, read up on it and enroll for as many courses on coding as you can. Then take on projects that help you to utilize the skills which you have just acquired so that they can become second nature to you. Pursue the development of your unique abilities until you reach the very top of your field.

Learn Negotiation and Self-Promotion

As a woman in a male-dominated sector, you need to learn how to promote yourself so that you can get ahead despite being a lone woman among men. This isn’t the time to think that tooting your own horn is bad. If you don’t promote yourself, no one will.

The art of negotiation is also important for women in male-dominated fields. You may feel that you are swimming against the tide most of the time, so negotiation skills will come in handy to help you to reach your goals. Being confrontational will not help since you will be vastly outnumbered. Instead, find ways for all to benefit in anything you propose so that you build consensus and work as a team.

Invest in Preparation

Let’s face it, a lot of people will be watching you keenly and waiting for you to fail so that they can say that you had no business joining a male-dominated field. Your answer to such expectations should be comprehensive preparedness for everything you are doing.

That thorough preparation will show how competent you are and even your detractors may be compelled to respect you and accept you as one of the team.

Don’t relax or slack off once you earn the respect of your peers, colleagues, clients and everyone at work. Work harder so that you can rise even higher. The stakes will always be high for you as a woman, so don’t take your eyes off the ball for even a moment.

Don’t Be Rattled by Stereotypes

There will be a lot of stereotypes thrown at you in the course of doing your work as a woman in a male-dominated sector. For example, don’t be rattled when a woman looks past you to the men in your team when you go to conduct a site assessment before a construction project begins.

Take it in stride and do your work competently. The person exhibiting the stereotype will be embarrassed to discover that you aren’t what they took you to be. Use any stereotypes directed your way as fuel to do even more extraordinary things in your line of work.

Don’t Try to Please Everyone

It is easy for women to fall into the trap of trying to steer clear of annoying anyone in a male-dominated field. Such women may go out of their way to attempt to be people pleasers in order to gain acceptance in the field.

Nothing can be as self-defeating as devoting most of your time to trying to please people just so you can be accepted. Don’t even try it. Do your work and be courteous to everyone, but don’t accept any form of disrespect, such as sexual harassment, just because you don’t want to rock the boat. There should be a line that should never be crossed, and make it clear, you will not stand for anything inappropriate just because you are a woman.

Your male counterparts will try to push your buttons, but they will eventually back off when they realize you are firm in enforcing the limits that you have set.

There you have it, the key advice for women working in male-dominated sectors. Implement it every single day of your life and your work life will get easier as your colleagues get used to having you as part of the team. Don’t hesitate to ask for any help from your superiors or any other professionals in case you find that the work conditions are being made particularly difficult just to frustrate you.

By Ambrose O. for

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