Vincy Workplace
September 16, 2011
Women who rule at work

When women began entering the workforce at professional levels, the old cliché “It’s a man’s world” was a reality that made working and communicating outside the home difficult. However, as we progress in the 21st century, it’s important for both sexes to develop strategies to breakdown the stereotypes that cause this professional rift.{{more}}

A common stereotype:

Women are often seen as nurturers in the workplace instead of professionals equal to their male counterparts. As a result, it’s not uncommon for men to ask women to be the one to “take care of the office,” i.e., provide refreshments, clean up, and other duties associated with support staff. Whenever this occurs, it’s imperative that the female employee speak up and command the respect of her male colleagues. She needs to remind them that her role as a professional is to help the organization advance by using her expertise as a leader and problem solver.

Unfortunately, women often play into the stereotypes when they refuse to speak up for themselves for fear of being unpopular, alienated or labeled in the organization. The decision to remain silent never works for any woman who is serious about advancing her career.

What to do:

To survive and thrive in the 21st century workplace, female employees must know the value they bring to the company. In many companies, females outnumber men, yet they are not represented in senior positions. As a female professional, here’s what you can do.

1. Get the education you need.

Getting CXC or GCE subjects is not enough. A Bachelor’s, Master’s or even a Doctorate degree, depending on your industry, is essential.

2. Get a mentor.

This is someone who will work with you to further develop your skill sets. They will get to know most of your strengths and weaknesses and guide you accordingly.

3. Seek out an advocate or sponsor.

In many companies, senior leaders often advocate for professionals who have demonstrated the skills and competencies necessary to move you up. They are not mentors who will groom you; instead, they want to see you as a finished product they plug into the right positions. As a woman, you need these individuals as no one makes it on their own.

4. Finally, toot your own horn.

Don’t wait for the company to discover your skills. Speak up for yourself; let others around you know what your professional goals are and what skills you offer. Don’t be shy, volunteer for some of the tougher assignments, and be a true team player.

It can no longer be a man’s world for companies who plan to stay in business.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to
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