How Can Women Get Ahead in Male-Dominated Industries?
In the United States, many professions still remain male-dominated, especially in STEM and finance-related industries. Discrimination, or even the simple fear of discrimination, has held many women back from entering male-dominated fields. According to a report from Business Insider, about one-third of female tech workers have experienced or witnessed sexism in their industry. Women in architecture, on the other hand, are often paid less than their male counterparts. Should prejudice remain the norm, it will be difficult for these industries to achieve equality.
So how, then, can the women who want to work in these industries succeed? Though it can be challenging to navigate a system that was designed against you, it is still possible to push past the difficulties and thrive. Those determined enough might even be able to fly through the ranks and earn enough influence to fight for change in their industries. To help you get started, here are a few ways you can get ahead in a male-dominated industry.
Invest in Education:
Don’t let the gender disparity discourage you from taking opportunities that help you develop the skills you need to thrive in your field of choice. And even if you’ve completed your bachelor’s degree, it’s never too late to stop learning. Today it is easier to progress in male-dominated industries through taking a master's degree. It has even been shown that women with a master's degree gain more from them than men. And the good newsis that these degrees can be done online. Those looking to break the glass ceiling in finance can take an online master’s degree in accounting that is100% completed remotely. This allows women to set their own schedules and even work and study at the same time. A post-grad education can open doors to the most prestigious roles in the fields of finance and business, including the notoriously male-dominated financial analysis roles.
Investing in education doesn’t even have to cost too much time or money. In the tech industry, coding boot camps have helped many professionals shift to programming careers. Tuition for these boot camps can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000, but there are also free courses for the basics, which can help you determine whether the field is right for you.
Don’t Let People’s Opinions Weigh You Down:
As a woman in a male-dominated field, not everybody will approve of you. Should you face criticism, it is important to determine which judgments are useful and which judgments are not. If you make a mistake and your superior points it out, it’s best to listen and see how you can improve. But if you notice that you are held to a higher standard than your male coworkers, then it is a case of sexism. Remember not to internalize it: if someone passes judgment on you based on unfair criteria, they are the one with the shortcomings, not you.
Build A Strong Sense Of Self Worth:
It is equally important to make sure that your own opinions of yourself don’t weigh you down. In our article entitled Personal Prosperity, Nicole Hendrick Donovan discusses her experiences with low-self worth. Because she tied her self-worth to her successes, she personalized her failures, which pulled her into a deeper spiral of defeat.
Expecting perfection is counterproductive. So is being overly critical of yourself. The key to having a solid sense of self-worth is to have a balanced perspective. Acknowledge your flaws and mistakes, but do not let yourself be defined by them. Take stock of what you’re good at, and do what you can to further improve.
Network With Female Professionals:
It’s always easier to succeed when you have company. That’s why it’s important to network with women in your field. Veterans of the industry or even your seniors have pushed past many of the same struggles you face— which means that you can turn to them for advice or help. As you gain more experience, you can also pass down what you learned to younger professionals.
When it comes to promoting female empowerment in gender unequal industries, most of the onus should be on authoritative bodies, who have the power to implement policies that protect women from harassment and discrimination. However, in your working life, there are still things you can control, such as how well you develop your skills, how you see yourself, and how resilient you are to challenges. Though navigating a male-dominated industry can be difficult, finding your inner strength can help you succeed.
Post specially penned for herself360.com, by Dahlia Regina