I was always a tomboy when I was younger. I loved being around boys because they were less emotional. Growing up with a ton of cousins that were rough and tumble taught me to speak up for myself.
Being a woman in a man’s world isn’t easy. It’s not for the faint at heart. Many girls walk into careers in science, military, manual labor only to run the heck out of there since it seems like it’s a losing battle.
We need to follow through in order to make headway, to get used to one another. To build a better product, environment, and innovations.
Combat Feeling Awkward
Diverse opinions and viewpoints build a better product that serves everyone. Having a workplace or business that is not diverse hurts innovation. Men and women definitely have different points of view and it helps combat problems from many perspectives.
The main issue we women have while working in male-dominated environments is not fitting in with the masses. In these environments, you have to be comfortable in your differences and fight for your place by using your voice.
Men Can Be Great Allies When Your Prove Yourself
Being consistent and standing out gains respect. Not only that, it makes speaking up and demanding your place in your working environment easier. Practice makes perfect.
The Gentle Touch
It’s a tricky place to be a woman. You want to roar and say, “I am here.” Don’t do that. Be watchful of your environment. Assess the players. Then observe how others fit into the equation. After you have the lay of the land, get involved. Start speaking up during meetings. Everything you say, back it up with facts.
Put Your Emotions In Check
One of the best parts of being a woman is our ability to sense and sympathize. In a male-dominated workplace, you can’t be too sensitive. You have to speak up for yourself and set boundaries. Also, you have to realize that men communicate in a more aggressive manner. However, they don’t usually hold grudges. Once they get it off their chest, they move on.
Setting boundaries is the best way to handle confrontational males in the workplace. If you don’t tell a person they are doing something you don’t like, they won’t know. Don’t be too nurturing at work. Be careful of falling into a typical role as a woman. Being the coffee girl or the note-taking person can make your ability to get on a level playing field challenging.
Read Body Language
Taking the time to understand and read body language can give you insight into your peers. It also allows you to position yourself and your body in a way that says, “take me seriously and listen to me.”
Don’t Give Up – Get Better
The more we women keep the road steady-to-progress upward into positions of influence, our male peers will get used to sharing the space. Taking the time to point out the benefits of a diverse workplace each step along the way. We can start to see and gain sponsors that understand the challenges of being a woman in a man’s world.
As a female engineer, I’ve seen a lot of progress over the years. It’s why I stay, it’s why I want to mentor other women who desire a career in the science and tech industry. It’s why my daughters now work in a much more fulfilling and equalized environment than I did. We each represent one step closer to defying the odds.
Content courtesy of LM Preston, author of Building Your Empowered Steps and Homeschooling While Working To Shape Amazing Learners, www.empoweredsteps.com
Contributing Author, LM Preston
LM Preston, is an author, business owner, wife and mother who has written both fiction and non-fiction books that have reached best-seller status. Her passion for writing and helping others to see their potential through her stories and encouragement has been her life’s greatest adventures. She also is a personal coach who supports clients in writing, publishing, goal realization, career imagination, parenting, homeschooling while working and much more.