Girlboss: How to Make Headway in a Man’s World

The truth of the matter is, we may still live in a man’s world.

While women have made strides in proving they are just as capable as men, the industry is still dominated by the male population. Men still reign supreme in almost every industry out there — media, business, engineering, information technology, construction, architecture, automotive, law, etc.

The question is, how can women find success in an industry populated by men? Here are six ways to help women thrive in a tremendously challenging male-dominated environment:

Don’t Hold Yourself Back

Let’s be honest: being in a boardroom filled with men can be intimidating. Women tend to stay quiet and just let men lead the way. But that won’t get you far. If you want to advance in your career, you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up. Don’t think twice to express disagreement, raise a concern, or chip in an idea. If you have something valuable to say, put it out there. You should use your voice and show your male counterparts just what you’re capable of. You have to prove to them that you’re just as valuable as they are.

Tone Down the ‘Sorry’

Refrain from repeatedly apologizing for every single thing. Whether it’s an honest mistake in interpreting data or a coffee stain on the carpet, a simple sorry is enough. You don’t have to shower them with too many apologies. If you want to appear like the strong independent woman you are, don’t try so hard to appease your peers. You’re just giving them a chance to tower over you. If you want to gain their respect, show them you can’t easily be trampled on. Of course, not everyone likes a gutsy woman, but don’t let that stop you.

Call Out Injustices

Almost sixty percent of women have been victims of harassment in the workplace. Ninety percent of them don’t file a formal complaint against the perpetrator, let alone escalate it to their own management. Women shouldn’t be afraid to expose injustices in the workplace. If you have been a victim of intimidation, sexual advances, or offensive behavior, speak out about it. Report it immediately. You can tell it to your employer or go directly to your state fair employment office. You have every right to defend yourself against abuses. And this applies even outside the workplace. If you’re experiencing serious issues at home, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you want, you can call a marital lawyer to assist you in the process.

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Take on Conflicts with Class

You have to learn how to resolve conflict in the workplace. You don’t have to raise your voice or storm out of the room every time you find yourself in a heated argument. Acknowledge the issue and find out how you can move past it. You have to learn how to keep your composure. You shouldn’t let your emotions get the best of you.

Don’t decide based on what you’re feeling at the moment. You always have to be logical and objective when handling conflicts in the workplace. Focus on the issue at hand and maintain a certain level of professionalism at all times. When exposed in a field dominated by men, women tend to adapt their combative nature. But that’s not good for the business. You have to know how to set aside your ego and discuss the issue with full composure to reach an agreement. There’s no need to stir up some drama to get your way.

Learn to Say ‘No’

Stop saying ‘yes’ all the time. Don’t try too hard to please your boss or co-workers that you take on responsibilities that are not even part of your job description. There is a fine line between being a hustler and being a pushover. You have to know which tasks are yours to take and which are yours to turn down. Saying ‘no’ doesn’t make you a bad employee. It’s just that you know you don’t get paid to run up and down the stairs every morning to get everyone a turkey sandwich and a cup of espresso. If you know your value in the company, you won’t accept anything less than you deserve.

Cash in on Your Feminine Side

Capitalize on your feminine qualities. Men are sometimes task-oriented, while women are relationship-oriented. The female population can be more sensitive, empathetic, and nurturing than their male counterparts, which can be beneficial in the workplace. That’s what’s going to set you apart from your male colleagues who tend to be incredibly callous and domineering.

So you have to tap into your strengths as a woman and use them to your advantage. Show that you put a high value on other people’s feelings without losing your assertiveness and place a premium on collaboration without losing your sense of leadership. Show that being a woman is never a weakness.

Women have what it takes to thrive in a male-dominated environment. We hope that this 6-step article will help women find their voice, tap into their strengths, and prove to the world just how powerful they are.