Business of Men

How to overcome challenges in male-dominated industries


Being a woman is tough, especially in the workplace. Even in this day and age, discrimination against women in the workplace is apparent. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, four in ten women (42%) still have face discrimination in the workplace. Despite the progress we’ve managed for years, discrimination against women is still prevalent.

There are a variety of reasons why most women avoid jobs where men dominate the scene. Women in male-dominated industries, on the other hand, face unique challenges of their own. These challenges stem from not only a financial standpoint, but also roots itself to a woman physically, mentally, and emotionally.

What challenges are these women facing?

Male-dominated industries are those that have less than 25% of women in their workforce. These industries include occupations focusing on science and technology, construction, and mechanics.

For most of history, most scientists are male. The most popular female scientist was the mother of modern Physics, Marie Curie.

There are many challenges women face when working in these industries. These can include the belief regarding a woman’s leadership skills, pervasive stereotypes, and the worse of all, sexual harassment. In male-dominated industries, reports of sexual harassment are much more prevalent than other industries.

Women, to cope with these challenges, had developed various coping mechanisms to lessen their burden and stress. Some distance themselves from their colleagues, while others feed into the “one of the boys” pandemic. Those who cannot take the challenge leave the industry and not look back.

However, many women still faced challenges head-on and triumphed. With determination and focus, these women managed to rise from the ashes and succeeded in the industry. But how did they do it?

How women can overcome these challenges

Unleash your inner girl-boss with the following tips:

Find a mentor and role model

Role models have been proven to be an effective motivator. This is because if someone sees another person like them be able to make it, they get inspired. The same goes for women.

Seeing successful women in an industry filled with men can motivate those women who wanted to be part of it, especially STEM industries, where women are few.

Women in leadership positions can encourage other women to speak out for themselves. Not only that, the presence of another woman in a higher position correlates to a female employee’s retention. Have this role model turn into a mentor, and women will have a quicker way to build new skills and enhance their knowledge in the industry.

Find support

Finding support might be difficult, especially if there is still an ounce of discrimination in the workplace. However, there will be people who would prefer and appreciate having a female coworker or leader. Find those who can offer you their support. They will be the ones who can help you gain credibility in the workplace.

By building a good connection founded on trust and respect, your coworkers would be ready to rally with you. Offer support in return and encourage them in any way you can. This way, employees, both women and men, can work in a healthier working environment

Be willing to learn

Knowledge is power, and in these industries, it will drive women to the top. One of the hardest things to gain in the male-dominated industry is respect. Show them that you understand and know what you are talking about, and you will gain the respect you deserve.

Competence will also help you be confident. You’ll no longer hesitate to contribute to the team. Knowledge, expertise, and confidence go hand in hand.

Remember what keeps you going

Grow a tough skin and learn to ignore unhelpful criticism. After that, go back to what made you join the industry in the first place.

If you know the reason why you’re here and understand what you can do, be positive that you will be able to face the challenges thrown at you in the future. Dedication and focus are essential to survive in this industry as a woman.

Appreciate your advantage as a woman

Women have certain advantages in a male-dominant industry. You can do this by voicing out what you feel. Unlike men, women can put their pride at bay to ask for advice. There is no shame in asking and learning new things.

Women are also great nurturers, which is why you must nurture yourself. Take a break occasionally, or rest when you are tired. If you’re running yourself fatigued in trying to prove yourself, you’ll only end up less productive. Working your best requires you being in your best.

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Being a woman in a workplace full of men can appear daunting. The challenges are twice more apparent compared to industries that aren’t male-dominated. However, as long as you stand your ground, along with focus, knowledge, and support, you’d be able to face these challenges much more than you think. You’re a woman. You can do it.

About Christine Simmons

Christine Simmons is New York based a finance and marketing expert with a focus on helping women entrepreneurs achieve their goals.

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