Career And Business Tips Women Need To Succeed
Despite the fact that more women are in the workforce than there were before, the ratio of men pursuing careers and business continues to remain higher compared to that of women. This could be attributed to the fact that women seem to be faced with more challenges that hinder their career growth such as gender stereotypes and trying to balance their families and work. However, even in the face of these problems, some women have maneuvered and managed to become some of the most powerful people in the world today. You too could become one of these women in your career and business with the right guidance.
The first step to succeeding in your career as a woman is, to be aware of some of the challenges you could face. These include;
Societal gender bias; unfortunately, the notion that certain careers such as, engineering are best suited for men and that men are considered to be better leaders, still exists in many African cultures. This notion is one that continues to prevail and hinders women from breaking the glass ceiling.
As a woman, knowing this enables you to understand why you may be treated the way you are at your workplace and what steps you could take to prove your worth and reach for your aspirations.
Work and life balance; this challenge mostly affects women with families. As a woman with children, there is no doubt you are bound to find it difficult to balance raising your children and holding an 8.00am to 5.00pm job. However, with proper planning, prioritising and a helpful support system, it is very possible.
This challenge also affects pregnant mothers who may often have to take off over 60 days of maternity leave. Some organisations consider this time lost and, therefore, prefer to hire men as they are sure they will not take as much time off due to pregnancy, but dedicate all their efforts to the organisation.
Sexual harassment issues; women are more likely to be victims of sexual harassment than men at the workplace. Sexual harassment could take many forms such as rape, suggestive comments, and verbal insults. All these affect women both emotionally and physically, to the point that they feel compelled to exit an organisation. As a woman, it is important for you to stand up for yourself when you are sexually harassed and take appropriate action.
Furthermore, you need to demand that your rights are protected and upheld in your workplace.
Very few role models; unlike the men that, have many role models who are willing to mentor them and therefore benefit from the old-boys networks with influential men, women have few female professionals to look up to. The main cause of this may not be because there aren’t any women holding important positions in power or business but because most successful women are simply not willing to mentor fellow women. With such a dilemma, women are forced to rely on male mentors whom they may often feel disconnected from. To succeed as a woman, the role of a female mentor is important. It is advisable for you to find one.
The nature of alpha men; the challenge women face when working with alpha males is that they often find it difficult to take criticism from a woman or to be led by a woman. Because of their ego, such men may often make it difficult for you to succeed in your career. The best way to handle them is to understand their nature and find a way to work with them without bruising their ego.
The nature of women; many times, society considers women to be weak and lenient because of their emotional side. This nature of women may sometimes have a negative role on women’s career growth as they are often considered to be too emotional and not strong enough to handle seemingly challenging positions. As a woman, the best way to handle this nature is not to try and become a man but to embrace your nature and exercise emotional maturity and control.
Office gossip; many times when a woman moves up the ladder in her career, she will be the subject of office gossip. While some people may attribute her success to her hard work, others could claim that since she is a lady, she must have bribed her way up There is bound to be some gossip about how she got to the top and the way she does her work. As a woman, you have to be aware of this and find ways to appropriately handle gossip without losing control.
Knowing the exact challenges you could face whether general or work-specific, gives you a glimpse into the territory you will be in and how exactly to handle it accordingly. It helps you as a manager, to better understand the challenges the women in your team go through, and identifying areas you can empower them to excel.
It is very important to research as much as you can about the business and career you hope to get into, in order to equip yourself with all the necessary information you need.
So, what tips do you need to grow and succeed in your career path as a woman?
1.Acquire as much education and training in the field you want to grow in, as possible:
Gone are the days when education was something reserved for men. Today, women are allowed to gain education up to whatever level they wish. Knowing and pursuing professional courses and training in your area of expertise gives you the credibility and knowledge you need to perform highly in your career and grow in it.
2.Find a mentor to give you guidance:
Find a female mentor in your field or business that could give you a glimpse of how things work. A female mentor will also be able to objectively give you the necessary information about any challenges you could face as a woman in that field since they too are women and have experience in the field. Be sure to pick a mentor that will help you grow in your career and not derail you.
3.Seek male mentors as well:
Do not only learn from the women in your career. Make friends with the men as well and learn from them. These men are not meant to be your competition but rather your support system. Knowing this and not viewing them as the enemy but people you can learn from, will further help you build strong networks that could help you grow in your career.
Confidence is a very powerful tool. If you are qualified and you know it; be confident and share your opinions. If someone tries to sexually harass you or disrespect you; be confident enough to stand up for yourself. Your confidence will help you gain the respect and attention you want to grow your career and business.
Contrary to popular belief, simply being a woman and being considered as the weaker sex will not make it easy for you to climb the career ladder. This notion may sometimes work to your advantage but in order to gain the respect you deserve and the confidence of the employees you lead, you have to work hard. Let your growth be highlighted by the fact that you are a hardworking lady and not someone that has had it easy.
6.Find your unique aspect:
Employers today want to hire creative people that have unique talents and ideas. Find what makes you unique and cultivate it. This will help you get noticed and give you an edge over your competition, that includes both your fellow female and male counterparts. Do not aim to be like everyone else, aim to be you; different.
7.Use the ‘scarcity of women in the workforce’ to your advantage:
Do not get intimidated simply because there are very few women in the career you want to pursue. Instead, channel all this to your advantage and use it to get noticed. Chances are high you are bound to get noticed as one of the few women aiming to succeed in your career which could open more doors for you.
8.Command respect in the way you dress:
As a woman, it is unfortunate that the way you dress has a great impact on the perception and impression people make of you.Dress modestly and in a way that will command respect. Dressing inappropriately may get you all the attention you could desire but will make others doubt your professionalism and ability, which could affect your career negatively.
9.Possess the right communication and interpersonal skills:
The key to succeeding in any workplace is proper and effective communication. Gaining the right communication and interpersonal skills will make it easier for you to interact with people and build better relationships; an important factor that can help you grow in your career.
10.Practice planning and prioritising:
As a woman, it is important that you find a way to balance your work, family and other aspects of your life. The best way to do this is to learn to plan, prioritise and delegate tasks in your day as well as your career in general. With planning, you will be able to achieve all you need to and live a healthy and less stressful life.
11.Be respectful and humble:
Regardless of the position in the organisational hierarchy, you hold, be respectful to everyone. Learn to speak to people respectfully even when you may be rebuking them and remember to be humble about your achievements. Being respectful and humble is able to get you the support you need to grow in your career much faster than being disrespectful and being a braggart.
12.Embrace your nature as a woman:
The mistake many women make in their careers is to try and adopt the nature of a man. Yes, you may be able to hold the same leadership position as a man but you may not necessarily have to follow the way he does things. If, as a woman, you tend to tap into your emotions in order to make decisions, embrace that. Know how to control your emotions and use this ability and your nature to your advantage.
13.Do not be a pushover:
Learn to be an independent mind as a woman. You do not have to follow or do what people say you must do if you do not believe they are right. Be a strong woman in your character and not one that can easily be swayed.
- Learn from every experience you can get and aspire for more:
Whatever position you may hold, remember to learn from it whether you whether you enjoy the task or not. Seek to gain experience in your field of work and pick important lessons from every situation.This experience could just be your stepping stone to a greater career
15.Do not drag down other women or anyone:
Should you end up succeeding in your career or business, do not be the kind of person who despises fellow women or others below you, simply because you are among the few women that have made it. Instead, seek to mentor others and teach them the lessons you have learned.
Do not be afraid to break the glass ceiling in your career and business. Aim to succeed and be the best. Start today!