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The challenges are never-ending for a successful female working in a male dominated industry. No matter how deeply entrenched a woman is in the workspace, men will always try to wield dominance, if not supremacy. It is a continuous interplay of gender egos, particularly men with bruised egos. A successful female will always pose a threat in a male dominated industry. In the course of overcoming these hurdles, golden opportunities will open up to find her place in the sun.
Of Gender and Ego
There are no set guidelines when it comes to the rules of engagement between male and female in the workplace. While most organizations encourage positive interaction among all workers, it is not correct to assume everybody gets the message. Women are still treated as outcasts so there is tremendous pressure to excel and surpass men with their performance. In some cases, women will quit under the barrage of sexist overtones given off by their male counterparts. But females with stronger personalities are often up to the challenge. They will not be intimidated by any "trash talk" but instead counter and deliver some rock-hard punches of their own.
Get Settled In Fast
Women should learn to adapt quickly to operating in their environment. At first, men will often display friendliness to a woman. Such action is a form of subtle chauvinism. But when it comes to getting ahead, men will not be as affectionate in allowing a woman to get the upper hand. When a female makes a mistake on the job, male peers immediately come to the rescue. Most women will misinterpret this as concern but the underlying implication is that of a stronger man protecting the weaker woman. A successful female uses her intuiton to discern the genuine from the questionable in a male dominated industry.
Men are more comfortable sharing power with men. In the more senior management levels of an organization, men tend to give more respect and support to a male supervisor than they do a female supervisor. There is often a reluctance to be subservient to a perceived weaker sex.
With the longing to belong and be accepted as co-equal, there is sometimes a tendency for a woman to solicit approval from men. However, strong professional women don't see things the same way. Let it be known that as a boss, a woman will be more demanding and hard on her subordinates because she is hard on herself.
Women with impressive credentials do not allow stereotypes to influence them. It is, of course, a misconception that men are better at handling mentally challenging assignments than women. On the contrary, women are more often qualified to do just that with sound reasoning and better judgment, as can be better at taking the emotional responses of a client or coworker into account.
The level-headed female executive will look at male intimidation as a normal hazard at work. It is simply a defensive posture against a woman on the offensive. Maintain a professional work ethic at all times. Engage peers in sensible and enlightening discussions. Women who exude intelligence and confidence are a sight to behold. A successful female will always be thrust in the limelight even in a male dominated industry.
Don't Get Discouraged
Career minded women can’t be dissuaded from pursuing a career in a male dominated profession. The notion that women are good only in a non-technical profession is slowly eroding. In the engineer field, for example, exceptional females are blazing their own trails.
In selected industries, the female-to-male ratio is still low and not likely to reverse in the immediate future. However, more and more women are being appointed and given the highest positions in prestigious corporations and organizations. Strong professional women possess the leadership potential to make people follow them and get things done. Female role models are emerging in every corner of the business universe.
Ring Your Own Bell
“I am woman, hear me roar.” That’s the punchline of singer-songwriter Helen Reddy from her chart-topping song “I Am Woman” in the early 80s. The song divinely inspired women as they took to navigate the long and winding road to advance in the corporate and business worlds. A woman intent on pushing forward needs to make sounds a decibel louder than a man to be heard and noticed. It is not a question of who is more aggressive between the two genders. Women have to be assertive and ever ready to assume higher responsibilities to compete. Males will always take advantage of weakness in women. Speak your mind whenever necessary. When the going gets tough, a successful female gets tougher in a male dominated industry.
Walking the Tightrope
There is also an intriguing side to a working wife and mother. Women are regarded as excellent multi-taskers. After work, men often relax and unwind in front of the TV with an ice-cold beer in hand. The working wife and mother do not have that luxury. She is committed to her family obligation in much the same way she is to her work. That is what sets many female professionals apart from male professionals, they need to balance their home life with their work life. If one were to dissect the workings of a woman, it is a remarkable balancing act indeed. Women are more astute at handling stress and strain in a relationship.
The female executive who is good in crisis management can use her skills and talents on the domestic front. She can apply the same standards at home to yield equally effective results. Women are solution providers. They find creative ways to achieve a well-balanced life on both sides and resolve conflicts when they arise.
It Is Nothing Personal
There shouldn’t be any impasse between males and females in the workplace. Men should be advised to take control of their insecurities when they encounter female colleagues at work. There is nothing personal there. It is purely professional. Look beyond gender and be more attentive to the work women do. Today, it is no longer odd to see a successful female as a pillar of productivity in a male dominated industry. Besides, if talk is about figures and graphs, women have the better figure and the right curves. There’s no stopping the tide of women pursuing their dreams in professions occupied by men.