hile improvements have been made, there are still many workplace environments and industries that are male-dominated. Women have trouble making their voices heard, and oftentimes get overshadowed by their male counterparts. To improve the chances of succeeding and even thriving in male-dominated workplaces, a few key steps are essential. 

These steps will not only help women overcome struggles to make their voices heard, but also allow them to find ways to embrace their voices, reach new heights in what ideas they are sharing, and further their experiences with those whom they can trust and respect. From maintaining their respective outlooks to bringing in new and improved opinions, women will be able to voice their opinions and reach new heights in creativity and ideals. The following will be covered in this article:

  • Communication is key
  • If you don’t already have a mentor program, request one 
  • Embrace employers who help you overcome self-doubt
Women sitting at a board room table
Communicating clearly with coworkers starts with basic communication skills acquired early in the job search.undefined

To thrive in a workplace where you are in the gender minority, communicate clearly

You will make yourself heard and it will lead to greater success

Sometimes, it is hard to make your opinion or ideas heard in an environment that isn’t friendly or open to such notions. Don’t let this hamper your ability to speak up and let your voice shine. Oftentimes, it is an opinion or idea that others have as well, and opening up will help prove your worth in the workplace. Additionally, you can voice your agreement with an idea that a male counterpart shares, and then add more details or nuances on top of it. When you are confident enough to speak up and communicate effectively, it can set a positive precedent for women to continue to speak up. This can help all those involved, bringing new ideas to the forefront that might not have had a voice or support before. 

STEM occupations are often heavily favored by male employees, so women must take great care in speaking up and out. These are jobs in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. While schools start children at a young age to focus on these fields and help girls flourish in them, they are still in the minority when they get to the higher levels of work. However, the ability to properly communicate can be learned starting from a young age, and the steps institutions take for youngsters to succeed in these areas are important.

Surviving a male dominated workplace can mean balancing confidence building techniques with the ability to speak your mind and actively pursue your goals. Jobs in the field of engineering are male dominated because it is math based, which boys are encouraged to pursue.  This can also be due to the fact that men are less likely to be the primary person raising a family. Many women take time away from their career to focus on a family, which is why they aren’t the prominent gender in STEM workplace environments. 

To be able to properly communicate at work, it is important to practice the skills early on, whether that is as early as in college or with family members. If communication wasn’t considered important in these arenas, it can be difficult to acquire the skills when the pressure is on in a workplace. But don’t worry-- communication can come easily if practiced often. A few easy ways to become a more effective communicator include avoiding apologizing and limiting qualifiers to make your voice stronger. That means you are constantly explaining what you are saying and reemphasizing every detail.  It makes surviving a male dominated workplace all the more effective. These two steps may seem simple on paper, but when constantly apologizing is the norm, it may be hard to cut the habit. Therefore, take time to practice these skills alone, at home, in front of the mirror, for example.

Make sure you believe what you are saying has importance, and then the people you are saying it to, will more likely find what you have to say has importance as well. This includes speaking with confidence on both opinions and ideas that are sure to spark continued discussions throughout the office. It may at times seem easier to shy away from sharing ideas that may seem revolutionary or out of the ordinary, but these are even better times to be bold and confident. These unusual ideas are sure to make a splash in the office setting, and set yourself apart from those who are used to sharing mundane and ordinary ideas. Additionally, sharing new ideas helps you rise to the level of the men in upper positions, positioning you in a more likely place for a promotion or raise. 

Woman smiling at a colleague
Becoming comfortable with a mentor can help you open up and express yourself to a greater degree.

Request a peer mentor program if one isn’t already in place

These programs can help boost morale and give greater incentive to have people listen to you!

You may have a mentor program at your workplace, but have yet to take advantage of it. If this is the case, all the better. If not, request that a program go into effect. Find a mentor who can help you voice your ideas and opinions, and learn to deal with men who may just say those same ideas louder. Men can even be important assets to women. With the #metoo movement, it isn’t enough for men to simply stop harassing women. Rather, they can take initiative to help their female counterparts, and even look up to women in the workplace. The #metoo movement may have started to gain popularity in the movie and entertainment industry, but it spread across all types of workplaces and industries. The importance of the movement in gaining awareness for the relationship between men and women in the workplace is unprecedented. 

The movement jumped from industry to industry, gaining importance and popularity.. In the case of male-dominated workplaces, men can find their place in helping women and overcoming their embarrassment to speak up. In this sense, leadership in the workplace can stem from women leading women. Younger females can learn from more experienced women that have already learned the ropes of how to speak up and when to take a backseat when it comes to sharing ideas and concerns. Not only surviving but thriving in a male dominated workplace means rising to the level of the men in senior management, and mentorship programs can be just the thing needed to guide and help women help women.

The mentorship programs go back to the importance of communicating effectively. One woman can help another learn how to communicate and what skills are needed for improvement. Additionally, leaders are formed when one strong woman helps another become just as strong and an effective communicator.

Trading skills is an effective way to help mentors and mentees improve both of their sets of skills. Rather than pairing up women with women who are proficient in the same things, it is beneficial to pair up those with complementary skills, so both can grow in their knowledge pool.

Three women gathered around a laptop computer
Working together as a team can help individuals rise together as a group and succeed in the workplace.undefined

Embrace employers who help you overcome self-doubt

If you are in a situation in which employers are putting you down, shift your awareness and change your situation!

It is often the case that it is the employer that is perpetuating a male-dominated workplace. By constantly hiring male employees, possibly because the company is led by male CEOs and upper level management, the cycle continues. This can be put to a halt when men start to hire women, or when women start to take on the leadership roles. 

Be sure to embrace those employers who help you overcome your mishaps and the self-doubt that may be perpetuated by an environment that is mainly led by men. This may be the case in a work environment where men respect women and their ideas. This is ideal. Embrace the positivity. In addition, find niche spots where you can continue the positivity. This is where you will be able to shift your awareness.

To change your situation, you may be able to find mentor programs that build up your self esteem, or completely shift into a new office environment. While this may be difficult, if the job where you are is putting you down, a change in scenery may be just what you need. Even if it is still a male-dominated workplace, it can be a complete shift that alters the way you are viewing your coworkers and even yourself!

Apr 15, 2020