Tinu should be about three years old; she finds herself in a class of twenty five other boys who happen to be her age but seeing as she is the little girl in a pink frock, she is termed as weak while the boys are the strong ones.
There were always bully sessions and Tinu always went back home teary-eyed. This is the situation most women who find themselves in male-dominated sectors face. There is a constant need for some women to fight to justify or assert their abilities, intelligence, skills and competence.
In Nigeria, Africa’s largest and most populous country, more women are engaging in work than ever before. By 2011, more than half (57%) of women 15-64 years old were in some form of employment. In 2018, a report on Labour Force Statistics by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reports that more men worked full-time than women, while a higher percentage of women worked part-time between 20-39 hours and below 20 hours per week.
“The absolute number of male full-time workers, 34.85 million, was more than twice the number of female full-time workers, 16.21 million, in the third quarter of 2017.
It is no news that few females are employed, self-employed while a larger part are stay-at-home moms or housewives. Yet, this small fraction of women still press really hard to make their mark in their various sectors of endeavour. This means you cannot ace your game in an all boy’s game wearing a pretty pink frock.
Here are tips on how to wear shorts and ace your game:
Focus on being a key player
Resolve not to be shoved under the carpet. Spend your time thinking about how you can make the greatest impact in the workplace.
How will you add value today? Shift your mindset, and you will notice that people will change how they see you.
We are all human. Don’t get trapped in thoughts of how being a woman can affect you negatively in the workplace. Instead, focus on the unique skills that you bring into the workplace that can take the company from where they are to where they want to be. Be wary that there are many labels that can be placed on people to form divisions or levels of superiority in the work place.
Be a Pro
Competence builds confidence. When you are able to communicate your recent findings about the industry or share information you heard at a conference, you will instantly have more confidence about your contributions to the team.
Want to use your natural writing abilities to take your knowledge to the next level? Write a compelling article about your industry, and your credibility will instantly go up.
Be a Well-Rounded Communicator
Being articulate about your views among diverse audience will earn you the respect you deserve.
Many women fall into the trap of undermining their credibility by consistently using weak language. Using words such as “I think” sabotages the quality of your message. Incorporating filler words such as “uh,” “you know,” and “like” leaves others questioning your professionalism and the validity of your points.
Don’t be stale
Remain relevant and valuable by investing in your career. Obtain certifications that show your commitment and professional competencies. Take advantage of company training sessions that allow you to become a subject-matter expert. Build your technical skills so you can increase your productivity.
Don’t be surprised if your brilliant skills lead to an invitation to teach others what you have learned.
Attend seminars, workshops, read wide, listen to podcasts and carry out a lot of research.
Play your feminine card
It could be listening, emotional aptitude, empathy, socializing or just being the den mother. They’re good qualities to demonstrate as a rising future leader and particularly in a workplace where those skills are in short supply, they’re also not a bad way to get noticed.
Don’t nod your head to everything
In the industries I’ve worked in, there’s tremendous pressure to work hard and keep an overflowing plate. Lunch and coffee runs aside, it’s all too easy to say yes to every project as you strive to “be a good employee”—but if you never say no, you’ll ultimately just hurt both yourself and your company. It’s important to stand up for the projects you really want to work on, ensure to have a say and do not be a dump site.
Don’t Be Anyone’s Coffee or Lunch Getter
How many successful men in the workplace do you see picking up their boss’s lunch or coffee? If you’re not someone’s assistant, do not get in the habit of acting like one. Sure, maybe there are special exceptions when your boss is in fire drill mode or decides to treat a group for getting his coffee—but don’t make it a regular thing.
These are the few steps to becoming a game changer in male dominated sectors. Would you like to share some of yours? Leave your comments below.