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.


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

Avatar of Angela Davis

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: 109 Comments

  1. Avatar of Kateleen


    This article is so great! Women are the most important members of the relationship. We are the survivors, the nurturers, and the bosses despite men pretending it’s a male-dominated society. This is not to hate men this is to promote equalism.

  2. Avatar of Agnes Hoots

    Agnes Hoots

    People are a lot more open minded now. I didn’t realize that this was still an issue. It’s such a shame that there are still people who think one gender is superior to the other. What a caveman.

  3. Avatar of Edwina Thornhill

    Edwina Thornhill

    The only downside with working with women is the drama that comes along with it. Men tend to achieve their goals better because they don’t care half of the time whether you have beef with them or none. Men just do whatever it takes to reach their goals without getting distracted by drama.

  4. Avatar of Janet Day

    “In my previous workplace, my boss was a woman and she believes that all women need to have office jobs. Almost 95% of the company were women. Men are either tasked with janitorial duties or driver duties. She prioritized women above all for the high positions. I think that was an amazing move so companies can truly appreciate that women can be as capable as men.

  5. Avatar of Martha Gilmore

    Martha Gilmore

    The new era that we are in no longer requires women to be silent and to stay incapable of doing the same things that men do. That’s such an old belief that has no actual basis. Women can be as determined and capable as men!

    • Avatar of Mary Jamieson

      Mary Jamieson

      In all honesty, the only thing a woman can’t do and a man can is to pee in a bottle all at the same time.

  6. Avatar of Jonathon Swift

    Jonathon Swift

    Stop hating men for all the problem woman have in there life

  7. Avatar of Geraldine Pettigrew

    Geraldine Pettigrew

    wonderful article. I always feel proud when read something relate to women.

  8. Avatar of Joyce Shealy

    Joyce Shealy

    keep learning new things it will always help.

  9. Avatar of Earline Wilham

    Earline Wilham

    Being informed always works. it makes you stand out.

  10. Avatar of Chris Moris

    Chris Moris

    There are many other serious problem that women face in there workplace.

Load 10 more comments

Join in the Conversation! Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Urbanette moderates and edits comments for grammar and to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Please use your full name. Moderators can only approve comments written in English.

All content is strictly copyright. Contact us for permission.