Women have come a long way to occupy important positions in various sectors and fields, but there is still the all-pervading misogyny that threatens to rattle their progress. Here are some ways to find your feet, be heard and make significant contributions in your area of expertise. From boardrooms to conference halls to leadership meetings, women often feel sidelined, ignored or underrepresented at the workplace.

But the trick is to not let it get in the way on your road to success. As a woman leader, how do you make your presence felt? How do you ensure that people know you for who you are? An aggressive stance is not always the best solution.

The trick is to understand the challenges and be prepared to take them on when the time comes, and that will go a long way in making your presence felt, and having not just a seat, but a say at the table.

Often, women leaders find it a challenge to speak at meetings or even try to get a word in edgewise in a roomful of men. The reasons vary, from too many interruptions by male colleagues, to women not being confident about the point they are trying to make or just feeling uncomfortable while speaking up. If you are aware of a pattern that has become recurring then you need to tackle it.

The bottom line is, if you are only there not speaking, you have created the impression that you’re not prepared to be there.”

Don’t skip the after-work events with the team, try attending a few. Engage in conversations with colleagues and management and begin building organic relationships. Those relaxed environments allow you to start forming bonds with the team that can then translate to the office.

Also, don’t be afraid to offer your expertise. If you have a wealth of knowledge and experience in a particular area, take steps to share it with others on the team.

Be the change Be a leader in the true sense. Mentor and support other younger women in the family and at the workplace. Lift up the women around you, speak for those who can’t, and support those who most need it.

So take charge and be the change – not for yourself but for others too.

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