It's Not Just a Man's World - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

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It’s Not Just a Man’s World

Looking for a new career? 4 tips to help you buck stereotypes and excel in male-dominated industries.

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Did you know that women make up more than half of the U.S. population, but are only 24% of engineers and scientists, 2.6% of construction workers and 13.2% of police officers? Only 11% of U.S. tech start-ups have female founders or CEOs and, of the Fortune 500 CEOs, only 20% are women. That’s not ok! And it’s up to us to change it.

It’s Not Just a Man’s World

We looked into why this is happening and made some interesting discoveries, which basically boiled down to the fact that women are just as capable as men (or more so!) but society’s oppressive gender roles that are holding women back. Nevertheless, breaking into a male-dominated field can seem like an incredibly uphill battle. But it isn’t impossible. With the availability of many certification programs, trade schools and associate degrees, more and more women are braving this so-called man’s world to make it their own. Staying in it is the real challenge. Here’s how you can increase your chances for success:

Reversing gender stereotypes

Try to avoid constantly comparing yourself to your male counterparts. Instead, focus your valuable time and energy on doing what is necessary to make it to the position you strive for. We’ve all been told that some careers, like those in the programming industry, are mostly male because men are just more interested in those particular fields. But that’s just a stereotype. The only thing separating you from the job is learning to code and making some samples (there are lots of non-profits who could use a volunteer programmer!)

The next time someone tells you, “men are just better at some things and women are better at others,” don’t fall for it.

Stereotypes are more of an excuse than a reason you can’t do something. According to the American Psychological Association, there are no proven cognitive differences between men and women. Cultural factors greatly influence the perceived differences in performance, but males and females have no advantages or disadvantages based solely on gender (if anything, women have the advantage!)

There’s power in numbers: Join a network!

Networking shouldn’t just be about making friends or connecting with those folks with whom you have common interests. Networking is about making connections with other influential women who can help advance your career. Focus on professional organizations as their members are more diverse. With any ethnic or gender minority organization, a place to discuss common ground and shared ideas is enriching and encouraging. If you don’t find an organization that is as inclusive as you’d like, start one yourself.

Articulate is the word

Speak up for yourself! The best way to get over any fears you might have is to be prepared and to be confident. Often women are timid or are afraid they won’t be taken seriously. If you develop your reputation as a credible expert, you’ll be more apt to jump into the mix and share your opinions. You can also try to make a list of all the things you like and dislike about your current situation and work closely with your boss to make improvements.

It’s Not Just a Man’s World

There are a few ways you can work on being more articulate every day, including:

  • Increasing your vocabulary. Work on learning new words and trying them out in your daily life. It will make you more confident and verbose, not to mention you’ll always know the answer when someone asks, “What’s the word I’m looking for?”
  • Increasing your comprehension. Filling your free time with news radio, science articles and current events will help you be on top of any conversation you may stumble upon. Don’t be afraid to interact in political debates or intense discussions.

Find a guide and keep learning

It can be tricky to track down a female mentor, so get creative! LinkedIn is a great tool to reach out to people in a similar career field or simply reach out to those you find inspiring. Be open to seeking out and learning from those who have experience, not just an existing business connection. Surround yourself with those who uplift you.

“I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.” — Marilyn Monroe

Incorporating learning into your everyday routine, like reading a book or attending an industry-specific conference, will help you further cultivate your passion. If you’re truly working towards something you find important, it drives you meet the expectations and goals that you’ve set for yourself and pushes you to overcome any obstacles.

Your new mantra: Anything a man can do, I can do better!

Want more? Here are 4 Ways to Invest in Your Professional Future

Originally from Denver and now living in NYC, Angie has been writing since she was small. She lives in the Flatiron district with her partner Tanya and their mutt Sparky (always adopt!) In her spare time she loves to paint (mostly abstract) and talk to random people on the street to find out what's interesting to them.

Reader Discussion: 47 Comments

  1. Marvin Culman

    In my office, we always need to assist women because they don’t do their job like they should. That’s why we’re not hiring many of them because they take too much time to do what they should, they always create problems where there are none…

  2. Dennis Hall

    I had this co-worker/friend of mine who’s a guy. He’s superior to me when it comes to the length of time working at this company but we have the same job. He always teases me that I can’t do better than him and that he knows best. After 6 months, I got promoted and became his boss. He’s been in the company for three years and I was there for a year. Haha

  3. Ofelia Ruley

    Be brave and stand for yourself that not because you’re a woman, you can do a man’s job. There are a lot of successful woman at shines in the field of work of man.

  4. Joss Butler

    Stereotypes aren’t always right. It’s just a matter of which gender would fit into that category. But that doesn’t mean that the counterpart cannot do the work. Like in dressmaking, women would perfectly fit into that work but that doesn’t mean a man can’t do it. They can and that would never make it wrong.

  5. Doreen Morales

    Men shouldn’t belittle women just because they think they’re bigger and stronger than them. They can never give birth and survive menstrual cramps! Remember that.

  6. Steev Smith

    Women can expand their knowledge even more if they know their own connections. It could help them excel in their field in the man’s world.

  7. Henriett Bond

    As a man, seeing a woman in our field of work is somehow turns into an automatic competition. That was before I met my wife. She changed my ways of getting into perspective with women. She showed me equality with both.

  8. Both genders are good at something and bad at one. They can do some of the other one’s work but not all of their work. There are disadvantages and advantages of doing a man’s work, vice versa.

  9. Some men see women as a threat to their ego when women are doing better than them. Guys should remove this kind of thinking. Women can be better like guys do!

  10. Eloise Ferris

    I am a woman and I’m an Architect. Taking that in college is really challenging especially with 90% of your classmates were guys! They always mock me that I CAN’T DO IT. I didn’t take that as an offense, rather as a motivation for me to study even harder. I graduated Cum Laude and got my own firm now.

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