The odds are stacked against women who enter any industry that is remotely perceived as masculine. Law, medicine, construction and finance are just a few where women are not always accommodated. Many can fail to accommodate its female employees as much as a sales store. Alongside fighting for fair pay, problematic policies, workplace harassment and maternal leave are voiced out. While progress is being made, it has not been enough to cover the years of sexism that stunted women from fulfilling opportunities that presented themselves. A lot of the advice that circulated was to lay low; be invisible and quiet and get your job done. This is unfortunately the best case scenario for many women if they want to keep their jobs. Job ascension is not always awarded fairly, and as much as women may deserve to be in positions of management, they are overlooked because of their gender and sex.
1. Go For What You Want
There is nothing wrong with fields that are more accommodating to women, however, if you feel that you want a different occupation than those that are often considered for women you should go for it. The premise of many institutions is that women cannot handle the pressures that come with the industry. It is not only inaccurate, it idealises the notion that men belong in dominant positions and women are to be boxed to specific careers. The truth is that women, just as men, are capable of fulfilling the requirements of any job and position.
2. Be Assertive
Women in any industry are often expected to be quiet, complacent and docile. Therefore, being assertive is an important characteristic to learn, especially if it doesn’t come naturally. When offering an idea, do not shrink away or allow yourself to be interrupted. Be firm about it, regardless of the thoughts of your co-workers. Your contributions are valuable, and they should acknowledge that you are just as much part of the business as they are. Women’s capabilities are underestimated and held at subpar standards. Assertion comes at the price of being judged and painted out as being overly ‘masculine’ or bratty, however if you are able to do the job and do it well, the results are the only thing that matter.
3. Let Your Work Do The Talking
Sometimes when we are cornered, underappreciated and overlooked, our work is what sustains us. It speaks volumes about our expertise and the quality of our work– our dedication to it. Women are becoming more recognised for their achievements and talents in IT and digital marketing. This is why the best SEO company in Malaysia is abundant with female figures. In a place of little interaction with the clients, they are able to provide some of the best work output because of that! While the digital era has afforded women anonymity when working thus reducing discrimination, it should not have to be the case. Letting your work speak for you can be a starting point, however at times it is important to speak up and point it out because, unfortunately, even as the best in the game, the ball can be passed to somebody else’s court.
4. Support Other Women In The Industry
It is difficult navigating the waters of the employment sector, more so when one has to do so alone. It is important to understand the privileges that come with race, class, education, expression and identity. Therefore, as a woman in a male-steered industry, standing by your fellow women can reward you with a solid foundation and a support system that values your input.
The problem with any social problem is that the beneficiaries of an oppressive system have to be part of the change that is to be inspired. Men in the workforce have to ally themselves with those who are marginalised. There is very little success in fighting a struggle that does not include all the people involved. Job mobility is not easy and the circumstances of every woman are different. While, in theory it is easy to play the advisory board as this article does, in truth it is not easy to do. However, the hope is that as each woman is able to rise and transcend her obstacles, the change inspired will present itself as the norm.