Is There a Real Gender Competition or Conflict Between Men and Women in the Workplace? Is It Hard to Be in a Male Dominated Career?
Though it is popularly acknowledged that persons of any gender can do most jobs, I’m hard-pressed to think of any career that explicitly requires a specific gender unless it is the field of cosmetology or labourer.
Statistics show that only 11% of start-up businesses have female founders or CEOs, out of the 11%, only 0.1% manage a global business. Why is there a dominant number of men in business than women? History can tell.
In most parts of the world, women of the 21st-century are the luckiest. Since the economy no longer depends on muscular strength, women have found their niches in society and are welcome to give and take challenging roles in society. Women have developed the ability to get around obstacles, achieve without needing confrontation and lead indirectly. As a matter of fact, this is proven by the proverb “great men have at their side great women“. Most women have learnt instinctively to use their power in their daily private lives as well as in their respective careers. Nevertheless, some women in some countries still need to enhance their survivability in careers dominated by men.
Men and women are equal and complementary in their diversity. Men and women who cooperate and complement each other in a workplace maximize the chances of success.
We need to understand (and make everyone understand) that individual aspirations and abilities are equally distributed between man and woman (Rudolf Nureyev is probably one of the greatest dancers of all times and is a man, Marie Curie is a great scientist and is a woman). We need to learn to cultivate skills and natural abilities. We need to make sure that education is accessible to everyone irrespective of gender, race, and creed. We need to teach how to develop at best one’s abilities and aspirations and how to put one’s skills to the benefit of society. But as it was said from the beginning “respect” is the mantra that has to be at the basis of this all. Respect for our equality in our differences, respect for our natural inclinations, respect for the freedom of the person, respect for the founding rules and obligations of community living, respect for the social establishment and its depending duties and rights, respect for each opinion and thought, respect for the freedom of speech and belief in other words we need, first, to teach “RESPECT“.
How to succeed in this male dominated world of business is nothing novel but by practicing the GOLDEN RULE, “DO unto others what you would like others do unto you.“
The following are tips on how to succeed in a male-dominated world:
1. Respect Yourself
Confucius said, “Respect yourself and others will respect you.” Dostoevsky said, “If you want to be respected by others, the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.” Men respect women who carry themselves with dignity. Women who respect themselves set high standards and right choices.
Self-Respect is a foundational element for success in business and personal life. Without self-respect, we are not confident enough to be able to contribute effectively on business organization. Success in all aspects of endeavors requires that we regard ourselves as worthy of contributing to the ventures of our clients.
2. Be an Authentic Woman
According to Mathew Boggs, author of “Cracking the Man Code,” men respect women who do not try to compete with their masculinity but women who are authentically women themselves.
This doesn’t mean playing dumb in the negotiation table but being smart in a feminine way. An authentic woman in business is courteous and polite, have good posture, well-groomed, intelligent, hard-working, reliable and dependable yet still a woman.
3. Tell the Truth
Honesty and integrity are keys to getting the trust of everyone in the business. Never promise anything that you know you can not deliver. Do not be afraid to admit that you do not have the monopoly of knowledge.
A male-client can not respect you if he can not trust you. Be candid and straightforward yet tactful. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Don’t waste your time or the client’s time by promising something that you can not do.
4. Use Word Power With Sincerity
Men would not like to be criticized and disrespected. They want you to acknowledge their achievements and want to be recognized. Use the power of words to compliment them, but do not overdo it or else you would sound like a sycophant. Mention some of his achievements and when he speaks about his accomplishments, listen attentively and give some positive reactions as needed. Male clients need to be assured that they are accomplished and that they will be successful.
5. Educate Yourself and Hone Your Skills
A business woman should be eloquent and carry a conversation intelligently. This requires a lot of reading and keeping one’s self abreast with pertinent current issues of the world. If you are in business, it is necessary that you update yourself on the local and global business trends and issues. If you can get some formal education, by all means, enroll in courses, but if you are not the academic type, you can find some alternative ways to educate yourself. There are many universities today who offer courses on an audit basis or online courses will do. If not, then you can do it by exposure to media, friends, associates, and family. As a business woman, read scholarly articles and not fiction. Most successful business people are into hard facts.
Also, hone your skills to the fullest that you can match that of your male counterparts or clients. The key is exceeding their expectation and leave them with awe.
6. Be Charming
According to Albert Camus, “Charm is a way of getting the answer ‘Yes’ without asking a clear question“. To exude charm doesn’t mean flirting or having a beauty queen look. It only means, having the power or quality of giving delight or arousing admiration from others. Charm is one of those womanly attributes a woman can use for a successful career around men. It is how you make men feel that would decide whether there is an open door for you in a company or none. A charming woman is she who can carry on an engaging conversation without sounding manly. If you do not know about being charming, start off by smiling (not grinning), and learn how to use words intelligently. For example, instead of complimenting a male associate that his color combination is excellent, tell him that he has an impeccable sense of getting clothed for work. You don’t need a Master’s degree in Commerce to be charming.
However, a charm is not everything. Charm with wisdom works.
7. Dress Up Like a Lady
According to Tom Ford, “Dressing up well is a form of good manners.“
Dress elegantly. This means dressing appropriately considering your body type, and your age. To be more practical, you can wear a variety of tailored clothes or simple ones, not gaudy or showy. You may show your curves but make sure you won’t try to fit in a very tight clothing.
Avoid showing too much skin during business meetings; wearing plunging necklines is strictly discouraged as it exudes an image of being unbecoming of a business woman; nor wearing sweatpants or tracksuits would suit you either. Make sure that your clothes are clean and neat, free of stains and wrinkles. On scents.. For business meetings, avoid wearing spice based perfumes as the scent stimulates men’s sexual urges. Use floral or fruity scents instead.
8. Surround Yourself With Successful Women or Those Who Represent Who You Want to Be
There is nothing new to this. Forbes wrote,”One of the most important decisions we make in life is who we choose to be around.” In fact, there is an old proverb that reads, “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.” Quite often we become like the people we’re around. Based on that, we must be cautious about whom we surround ourselves with because of the short and long-term implications.
Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life wrote this, “We need to encourage our children to make friends with people who will pull them up instead of drag them down. People who will encourage them and be positive influences in their lives. Because the number one factor that will determine whether they succeed or fail in life is the kind of friends they choose – friends who hold them back or friends who spur them on.” Kris Valloton sums it up with his quote, “Sometimes you can’t find your destiny until you find the right people!” This is not new to me either. So, surround yourself only with successful women without discriminating the others.
Authors: Mary D. Moore and Dr. David Fuschi, Ph.D.