How to Survive in a Male-Dominated Field

These days we find more and more women braving the odds and stepping into jobs and careers that used to be an all-men’s affair. Are you in a work environment where gender ratio isn’t in your favour?   Where there are so many men and the number of women is negligible? When you work in a male-dominated office, you find that it comes with its attendant challenges.

Generally, women who work in a male-dominated field find that they often have to work twice as hard in order to prove themselves. They are rarely given powerful positions, and more often than not, struggle to even find a voice. So, it turns out that some women believe that if they are to make any sort of measurable success in their male-dominated careers, they have to be ‘manly’. What this does in effect is that it makes the woman seem aggressive, abrasive, rude and even domineering. This brings us to the first tip;

Ditch the Attitude

Whether or not you are actually being marginalized or you feel threatened in your work environment, your attitude towards your work should remain positive. Refuse to be brought low by a negative mindset and attitude which may result in aggression or in you trying to play the role of a ‘super-alpha’. Let your work ethics, intelligence, level of productivity and achievements speak for you.

Be Professional

Being professional does not just cover your work, but your demeanour; how you dress, how you handle yourself in the work environment, how you attend to clients and resolve issues. All these show your male counterparts that you are just as competent as the rest of them. When dressing professionally, always remember the saying, “dress as you want to be addressed”. Let your sense of professionalism show in every aspect of your work life.

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Don’t Engage in Negative Office ‘Chit-chat’ (Otherwise called gossip)

Though this does not stop you from being cordial, when you engage in office chit-chat, it may inadvertently come round to count against you when you least expect it. Usually, where women are involved, such chit-chat is called gossip; unlike when it involves their male counterparts. Do all you can not to end up being labelled the office gossip. Steer clear of situations and scenarios that will cause a dent in your image.

You Need a Mentor

Trust me on this, having a fellow woman in the same field as you, who has successfully manoeuvred that terrain for a number of years will boost your spirit and keep you encouraged. Don’t be afraid to seek out a female senior colleague. It may surprise you to find her willing to be of assistance to younger women in the office.

Finally, always do your best. Whether in a male-dominated environment or not; you must always strive to ensure your work is characterised by excellence. In the same way you don’t want any negative treatment because of your gender, you ought not expect any sort of favouritism too.


To your Success!

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