It is 2022 and we have a female vice president, men have been called out and punished for sexual harassment in the workplace, and the last few generations have helped push more and more women into corporate leadership roles. Yes, we have come a long way in terms of gender bias, but the “bro culture” and the “old boys’ club” is still alive and kicking.
If you are a woman in a male-dominated field, you need to work twice as hard to get half as far. Unfair? Of course, it is. But the only way to continue to make headway is to fight the battle every day until we finally break the glass ceiling. Women need to learn to advocate for themselves, know and prove their worth, and never allow themselves to be treated “less than.”
Here are eight behaviors every woman should learn and practice to achieve success in a male-dominated industry:
- Become Valuable
Make yourself known as someone who can be counted on. Ask to lead a team or head a project. Many times, there are projects that need to be done but no one takes the initiative. Step up, tackle the project and demonstrate your worth.
- Don’t Shy Away From Conflict
Women tend to avoid conflict and want to please everyone, which is not an advantageous trait if you want to climb the professional ladder. When a conflict arises, do not take it personally. Face the problem but leave the drama out it. Find a way to resolve the situation instead of just complaining about it. Once the conflict is solved, move on and don’t hold a grudge.
- Speak Up
Realize that your opinion matters and let it be heard. If you speak up in a meeting, do it with confidence and authority and don’t let anyone speak over you.
- Command Respect
Stop worrying about being “liked” – worry about being respected. Practice being assertive – have conviction in what you are saying and say it with authority. When speaking with others, never apologize excessively or unnecessarily.
- Keep Learning
Stay on top of the trends happening in your industry. Attend seminars and continuing education classes. Knowledge is power and helps you become a valuable, credible resource that others can turn to when they need answers.
- Ask For A Raise Or Promotion
If your performance warrants a raise or promotion, do not be afraid to ask. Make sure you are prepared with data and facts to support your request, then ask with authority.
- Find Mentors
Having a confidante who can guide you in your career path is invaluable. Consider finding both a female and a male mentor. This way you can gain insight from two different points of view. You can learn so much from a female who has already navigated her way through the issues you may be facing. And, a male mentor can be a great role model and source of knowledge. Many mentors are in positions of leadership and power, and can help bring you up the ranks with them.
- Support Other Women
Women supporting women is key, but sometimes when climbing the corporate ladder, women tend to cut each other down, instead of building each other up. Women should not be competing with each other, they should be bonding together and building a strong alliance. “Girl Power,” when used intelligently, can go a long way in the fight for equality.
Women have made tremendous headway over the past 50 years, but there is still so much work to be done. Embrace and practice the advice above, and day by day we will continue to chip away at societal norms. Ultimately, all women must decide to own our voices, power, and confidence. We must continually challenge, push forward and rise up until a “male-dominated” industry is an obsolete notion and an antiquated term of the past.