Women have made great strides over the years to carve their place across professions, however, in some sectors they continue to be heavily outnumbered. Women in any industry can encounter sexual harassment, lack of mentoring and career opportunities, and high levels of stress and anxiety, but they are more prominent for women in male-dominated industries. Obviously, this isn’t the experience of every female working in male dominated workplaces.
To get through their working day some will distance themselves from other female colleagues, leave their job (sometimes to a lower paid one) and accept inappropriate behaviour explaining it as “one of the boys”, which normalises and further compounds this masculine culture.
Suggestions to not only cope in this industry, but thrive in a profession you enjoy could be to:
1. Know Your Limits
While it might be that some attitudes and banter is more misogynistic, know where your limits are. Be clear in communicating where your line is, so others then are aware of this. Check out ‘Setting Boundaries’ in the Tools section.
2. Manage Imposter Syndrome
Most people experience some degree of imposter syndrome, where you struggle to acknowledge success and have extreme feelings of self-doubt. Working in the minority might make these feelings more pervasive. Check out ways to manage these in ‘Imposter Syndrome’ in Students & Newly Qualified.
It can be helpful to have a mentor who has some understanding of the challenges you face and can support you to reach the goals in your career. Choose one that you can build a relationship with, who believe in you and will genuinely champion you to others.
4. Know Your Worth
You have earned your job. Set your expectations about career progression and what success looks like to you. If you feel apprehensive about asking for a pay rise or promotion, check out ‘Learning Assertiveness Skills’ in Work Situations (Situations) and ‘Grounding Tools’ in Anxiety (Tools).
5. Project Confidence
You don’t have to feel confident to project an image of confidence. Hold your head up and shoulders back, project your voice and tell yourself what you have to say is worth listening to. Check out ‘Positive Self Talk’ in Positivity Intermediate (Tools).