Being a woman in the male dominated industry

  1. I feel like exchanging tips and ideas accross our cultures....
    Some companies have this "women association" where women can group and discuss ways of working together.
    The company where I work wants to encourage women into taking management positions, but not falling into the "quotas" thing.

    Yesterday my female manager told me I should be bolder, and not as "humble" with my skills bc in my job all the men just talk loud as if they are the best thing since the invention of sliced bread !! Huge egos !!! :feminist:
    In Europe it´s a quality to be humble and not loud. But of course in the corporate world it´s a bit different....That really got me into thinking, what to do ???
    From experience, I have noticed american women in the business world are much more aggressive than we are, some tend to act as if they were constnatly threatened and back stabbing each other. Overhere I am glad we tend to support each other.
    And the employees (males and females) are not obsessed with promotions, and value the quality of life first, which avoids ugly competition and behaviours.

    I have had to deal with this during my studies too since I took a male dominated field, but creative so still quite cool. BUT there were few incidences when the guys would really get jealous if I got better grades or results than them especially for my graduation, the sexist behaviour would then wasn´t about skills anymore it was about gender and being a woman......
    I recently got an internal new position and then again it came up....

    So, is there a middle way to go (bolder but not aggressive) ? Do we have to copy male´s behaviours ? Can we just be women ?:heart:
    There is balancing family life also, here they give flexible working time to take care of the kids (and Dads tends to share the tasks too).
    So you can make kids AND have a career.:woohoo:
  2. Ah you think too much! I certainly don't work in a male dominated industry, in fact, there are NO MEN in there... and it's hell for me. Women are so catty sometimes! I did do engineering for a while at uni though, and that's male dominated. I have to say, I had a blast because I love lots of things guys like, like video games and electric guitars and stuff. Some guys did have giant egos, and said I must be wrong since I'm a woman, but that's an individual thing. It's not a guy thing, please don't think that. You'll always get bastards saying how you're a woman so you suck, but I chalk it up to an individual. In fact, I never chalk up anything to a group, that leads to racism/sexism/what have you.

    Personally, I think you should just play the role you're happy with. I know some women are all about getting that promotion and being the breadwinner of the house and probably not even having children but that is not for me. I will work but I will put my husband first and I am slightly submissive. That is just the way I am, and i'm happy with that. I'm not competitive, so competing for that promotion or that position or whatever is just not for me. I'm happy like this, it suits my personality.

    So go for whatever suits your personality and makes you happy, and ignore the bastards. If you're happy in your lower position, don't let your boss get to you! Some women just want us to be bolder, but hell I just don't want to. If you're happy the way you are, then stay that way.
  3. wow, that is the funniest smiley face i've ever seen.

    i took a psychology class in college that touched on precisely this problem. i think americans expects workers to be more aggressive, work more hour etc. but women on both continents face the same workplace dilemma --- battling the expectations to be soft-spoken/nice whatever as a woman, but at the same time aggressive and assertive like their male counterparts.

    but a woman can almost never be both. a woman who takes on any leadership role must assume of these "male" qualities, and invariably receive some form of backlash. for example, hillary clinton is closely examined on things other presidential candidates aren't (clothes, laughter... although maybe starting to be the same for the male ones as well?)

    sucks but true.
  4. ^
    Hmmm, I don't know if this sounds valid or if it should make sense, but some argues that the "language" meaning body language and behavior of some professional areas uses "masculine" stereotypes and qualities as a standard to work well. Politics being prominent maybe? You'd have to be clear and outspoken to speak to the masses and cannot hide your ways in polite language. Same goes in many business related settings. The theory is that people working in these environments must adapt a certain level of these qualitites to succeed. Maybe if you try to think of these qualities or traits as "masculine" and "feminine" disconnencted from the genders. Just as there are "masculine" looking women and men with feminine traits.

    To make an example, men who work in trditionally female dominated fields sometimes adopt a more "feminine" conduite, like a hairdresses, makeup artist, dancer, nurse etc. Again it's important to emphasize that feminine is this case does not refer to f.e.x "flaming gay" body language (in lack of a bettter work), but maybe soft spokenness and politeness.

    Did I mention I hate stereotypes... ?:upsidedown:
  5. Wow, I could post on and on about this...

    ...I have worked in IT for 13 years (OMG!) and it is very much male dominated, probably due to its technical nature. The female roles, at least in the niche I work in, are in things such as project/program Management (what I do) and executive level functions. There is always a fine line in my industry on how technical you need to be to be in a manager role rather than an individual contributor role (such as developer, programmer, etc). Meaning, some places want the managers to be very technical, and for others it's not as stringent. But I digress!

    A few basics I have picked up along the way and tweaked over the years:
    - eye contact and firm handshake. When you meet someone, shake their hand, look them in the eye with a 'nice to meet you,' and don't be the first to glance downward.

    - There is a HUGE difference between being assertive and being aggressive.

    - Speak up! If you sit around in a meeting full of mostly men and 'wait' for your turn to say something you'll be waiting a long, long time. Jump right in and NEVER say "can I ask a question?" That is totally lame, LOL.

    - Egos are everywhere. Even to this day I will bring up an idea in a meeting, only to have a male counterpart bring up the same thing a day or two later. I have a graceful and tactful way to say in a word that *I* was the one who recommended xyz earlier. But, sometimes it's best to let that slide. It all depends on the situation.

    - Know what you're talking about. When we speak with knowledge about something, it rings true in our delivery and people can't help but sit up and take notice!

    I hope this helps. Part of this, IMO, is simply gaining experience. Meaning, when I was 22 and fresh out of university and a receptionist, people initially didn't take me very seriously. When I started to do homework on my industry and volunteer for more challenging projects, that got people's attention.
  6. ^ Totally agree with your list of basics. A firm handshake def lets the person know you mean business. Speaking up is def a quality to work on, but as also stated, you have to know what you are talking about!

    I am studying Electrical Engineering and know what it's like to be part of the male world. It totally works for me though because I get along with guys much better than with girls. I feel more comfortable around them and know that they arent catty.
  7. :goodpost:
    But I read with interest all the posts of the other fellow TPFers.
    I think it depends on the field/industry where you work, BUT there's always a subtle difference between men and women and you can easily see that women, at least here in Europe are always a bit aggressive when they have an important role.
    While if they're kind, men always think that their value is zero...don't know if this makes sense to you, sorry for my english!!
    Anyway, I've always been a very kind person, even shy sometimes... I took my degree, then my master degree in business administration and now I'm working in the small company runned by my family (where women are mostly secretaries...).
    Veeery difficult role...after almost 10 years here I've seen that men always behave like if they could deal with a man would feel if a woman was less "solid".
    And even my colleagues rarely listen to my ideas...well, listened... after 10 years they had the occasion to see that most of my ideas/advice were correct! Now they are less "yeah, let's listen to the BIG IDEA of the daughter of the boss with a master degree...":rolleyes:
    Now they listen. But I have had to be even rude to arrive to this point and it's still not over. I had to feed my ego and speak every time to demonstrate to more ignorant men that they were wrong.
    I also deal with buyers of big industries and when I deal with women...well, they are very strong women.
    I think we should go on behaving as women... with the awareness that we are able to do things better that men without feeling the necessity of saying it out loud. And saying it out loud when we are in front of typical small-minded men. :yes: