11 answers

any advice for women going into a male dominated field of work?

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11
100% of 11 Pros

11 answers

Jessica’s Answer

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Hi Julianna - my advice: own it. Be a listener and a learner, but make sure it’s clear you’re not there to hang back, or listen to any bloviating while you wait to get a word in edgewise. Speak up and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to look “green”. Be confident in your intelligence (what you brought to the industry and what you’re developing), and how well you do your job. Don’t be afraid to show it. You can do all these things and still behave as a perfectly pleasant human being with a good sense of humor.

Definitely find a female mentor in your field. It may be someone whose style is not at all like yours, but is someone who models behaviors that help you identify the best version of those behaviors in yourself. Also, be faithful about continued professional development. Not only will you keep your general professional skills sharp, it’s a great way to connect with other women executives outside your company or immediate industry.

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Kerri LO’s Answer

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It's important to self-promote! It is different than bragging, because you are advocating for yourself and showing employers why you are the best candidate. Find a women mentor once in your field of work to help guide you.

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Sunithi’s Answer

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Hi Julianna! I work at a public accounting firm and also work with multiple clients in various industries so I have been exposed to male dominated industries in my day to day work. My advice would be to find a mentor or advocate, regardless of gender, who will be someone who you can not only voice concerns to, but who will also go to bat for you. In my experience, having a mentor who allows for this has allowed me to become more confident in voicing my own concerns and in self promoting.

Additionally, I would say research the companies you are interested in working for and see if they have women inclusion networks or are advocates for women. For example, some companies that may be in male dominated fields of work might be involved with campaigns like HeforShe. A personal example is that my office attends with the Oregon State University's series for Advancing Women in Leadership. The series involves connecting professional women and men in the Portland area to discuss gender equality issues as well as tips on how to advocate for yourself. I've been able to network at these events and also learn tips that have helped me to be successful in my career.

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Meng Joo (MJ)’s Answer

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My key guidance is: Stay strong and do not let subtle gender influences / stereotypes creep into your mind! You might be immersed in an environment with male-dominated leadership, but remind yourself it doesn't always have to be.  You may be in a culture that calls for more aggressiveness than you are used to, in order to compete. Stand tall and confident on the value you are bringing to the company, and your ability to deliver just as well as anyone else regardless of gender.  

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Solmaira’s Answer

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I agree with Kerri! Always advocate for yourself and let others especially your leaders know of all the great things you are doing. As women, we bring so much to the table and all of our hard work should not go unnoticed. Also, always be confident in yourself and your abilities!

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Camille’s Answer

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Everyone has great advice - be you!

There are countless studies out there that prove that having diversity in a board, team, or group improves results, and we always have to remind ourselves that we bring something new and different to the table that the team/company needs to be successful. We all earn our ways to every place in life that we are in!

I would also say to remember that every person is different and likes to be communicated with differently, regardless of gender, and developing those interpersonal skills are critical to feel accepted in any space or community, especially the professional one. Meeting everybody with their communication style makes you a better leader and gives you more power to change the culture and environment around you for the better!

And when all else fails, find a friend who understands what you're going through and support each other!

Camille recommends the following next steps:

  • Find a friend who is going through the same change
  • Read some studies proving how important diversity is to corporate success!
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Sunayana’s Answer

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Hi Julianna! From my experience in tech, I've found one good piece of advice is to speak up. As women, we are taught to constantly say "I'm sorry" and be overly polite, which sometimes means not speaking up with our opinions or diminishing the value of what our opinion is. Try not to let that happen! It can be really tricky, especially as a newcomer into any job, but I think by consciously stating my opinion and remembering I have just as much of a right to be there as anyone else, I've been able to grow as a professional. I've also found replacing the "I'm sorry" with another expression, such as "I'd like to add" or "In addition", I've been able to state my opinion without feeling like I am interrupting someone too much or being rude. It also gets easier the more you do it!

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Fiona’s Answer

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Be confident, have an opinion.
If there are other women in your line of work, build a network and support each other.
It helps to have a company the cares about diversity and inclusion.
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Lauren’s Answer

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Great question! I suggest finding connections at your company. There's likely a women's employee resource group which is a great way to connect with other women in a world that is typically male dominated. I also suggest finding a mentor! Whether they are at your company or another one, connect with women in the industry via LinkedIn, Slack communities, online groups like Ladies Get Paid, etc.
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BARBARA’s Answer

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Great question Julianna. I can identify with your question as I work in a male dominated field -- currently the only female on a team of about 40.

I say, just be you!!!!! Stay true to who you are.

Don't look at the fact that there are more males than you. Don't shrink back / be intimidated. Your opinion and thoughts are just as important as anyone else's. I often find my male counterparts frustrated that I ask questions, I know they are grateful in the end as they didn't know the answer until I asked. :)

If you may be more of the quiet type like myself, celebrate your quietness. If you are more outgoing, celebrate your outgoingness. Just celebrate you!!!

The more you know who you are and how you are wired. Celebrate your differences.

BARBARA recommends the following next steps:

  • Take some time to get to know how you are wired and your gifting/skills.
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Maggie’s Answer

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Hi, Julianna.

Personally, I love this question. I read through all the other responses from the other amazing women- all GREAT advice (a lot that I am also taking notes from).

Own who you are. Speak up. Be confident. You were hired for a reason.

Definitely can't stress enough- find an advocate/ mentor who can help you through various challenges, celebrate your successes and help build your internal network.

Every woman deserves a seat at the table. If you do not have one, bring a folding chair.

We're cheering for you!
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