Even though there has been a greater awareness and push for gender equality and respect in the workplace with recent movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, change doesn’t happen overnight, and many industries are still overwhelmingly male-dominated. Working in a traditionally male-dominated industry can be really lonely for a woman, and it can be especially difficult if you want to rise up the ranks. Striving to be ambitious in an environment where boys’ clubs usually prevail can be discouraging, but here are some tips on how to rise in a male-dominated industry.
As a woman, you can often be the minority in the conference room, at board meetings, and by the water cooler. While you may hesitate to state your opinions or ideas in an environment where it seems like you have no allies, you have to be assertive or you will go unnoticed. This will only make it harder for not only your coworkers to remember and include you but also your bosses. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be rude. It means that, instead of being silent, don’t be afraid to share your ideas and express your preferences, especially when projects get delegated.
Don’t be the “Yes” woman
In many industries, there’s a lot of pressure to work harder and do more every single day. Aside from coffee runs, it’s very easy to say yes to each and every project offered, striving to be “a good employee”, but if you never say no, you will hurt yourself and your job performance. Stand up for the projects you really want to work on and say no to others when you just don’t have the time to put in your best effort.
Take criticism with confidence
Throughout your career, many people may doubt you due to your ideas, your gender, or your age. But the best way to counteract that is by trusting yourself. The biggest way to crush skepticism is with confidence. Don’t let their lack of faith in you take away your confidence in yourself. As long as you are always learning and putting in your best effort, there is no reason to doubt what you can accomplish. You know you’ve put in the hard work, so now all you have to do is show it. Hold your head up high, and trust yourself and your skills.
Be a team player
Many offices often have a “boys’ club” that can seem extremely exclusive, which is why bonding is important. The best career opportunities often come out of interactions outside the office, so when all of your co-workers want to do something after work, join them and be a part of the team. When you start bonding with people outside of the workplace, it can give you the opportunity to make connections you might not have otherwise.
A great thing about being a woman in a male-dominated industry is standing out. You can often be the only woman in the room, so people don’t know what to expect, which is a great opportunity to show them what you’re made of. Be the best you can be, and don’t consider your gender a limiting factor to your talent. While there are advantages and disadvantages to being a woman in a male-dominated industry, keep learning and sharpen your skills, and people will see what you’re capable of.