ARE YOU A WOMAN LOOKING TO THRIVE IN A MALE DOMINATED INDUSTRY? HERE’S HOW
In the African society, some jobs have been culturally branded for men only. As a lady, thriving in such fields especially in this patriarchal society, it can be hard. Being in a male dominated industry is quite challenging because people will hardly give you a chance to prove yourself. They feel it is a man’s job and a woman cannot possibly know how to do it or do it better than a man. This is wrong, but it’s the sad truth of the gender biased world we live in. Being outnumbered by men in any dominating male industry can also be frustrating because almost everybody will look down on you and doubt your skills.
You should not be discouraged because being the only female does not stop you from doing great. In fact, it should be a source of motivation. To make it in any male dominated industry, you need to use the same tactics the men use to climb the corporate ladder. You must realize that being a woman does not mean you need to use a different set of rules or different strategies. Here are a few tips to help you level up and get you ahead in your field:
- Meet Up With Other Women in the Industry
One of the best ways to survive and thrive in a male-dominated industry is to network with other women in the other industry. They more than most have an understanding of everything that you are facing; the good, the bad and the ugly. The number of women in an industry doesn’t matter, you may just be two women, but your strength is in your unity. You can exchange ideas and brainstorm on how to do things and learn from each other’s experiences.
Talking to someone else going through the same thing you’re going through always gives you strength and comfort. By doing this, you will also expand your professional horizon and make new friends to develop ideas with.
- Don’t Shy Away From Networking
It is normal for men to socialize outside the office to have a quick beer, watch a game or even play ball. This is a great opportunity for them to network and close business deals. You might not be interested in doing any of the activities they engage in and may just want to go home to relax. However, you need to realize that to make it in a male-dominated industry you must build a network, even if you have to feign interest.
- Be Assertive in Your Communication
While most men are very assertive and confident when they talk, some women tend to cower and speak in a less confident tone. They make sentences that end in question marks being uncertain or even apologetic when they talk. If you want to be comfortable in a male dominated industry and want to be taken seriously, you need to learn how to be assertive and certain when you speak, so you ooze confidence. This way, people (men and women), would listen to you and take you seriously.
Being assertive doesn’t always mean you should be authoritative and rude. Always know when to apologize and make question-like sentences where the need calls for it such as with when requesting for favours.
- Get a Mentor
People tend to think getting a mentor is cliché and unnecessary in today’s world. You might not know you need a mentor until you’ve met an experienced person that has gone through what you are going through to give you tips and tricks on how to scale through.
As a lady in a male dominated industry, it would be of great value to you and your career to have a mentor. Someone who is a female or even male professional who is higher up the ladder than you are and can listen to you when you have new ideas. A mentor can also give you advice and tips on how to deal with certain work-related issues.
- Change the Stereotype
When you are a lady in a male dominated industry, people will want to always remind you at every opportunity that you cannot do the job better than a man or be successful at it. If you decide to accept this stereotype and believe it, it will reflect in your career. Socialize, build a network, speak with confidence and pay no mind to stereotypical beliefs. Soar, soar, and soar!