Funky Girl stories

How to excel in a male-dominated industry

working women - turn your words into swords
Nisha Joshi
Written by Nisha Joshi
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Are your washroom visits lonely? Are you often asked whether you are someone’s assistant? Does your boss or colleagues insist on sitting with you till your work is done, or urge you to leave so that they can leave too?

If yes, welcome to the male-dominated industry. Here, females are few and far between. You’ll find a lot of women in the clerical staff. But, as you go up the ladder, it becomes lonely for sure. Sounds tough, doesn’t it?

These are, however, superficial inconveniences. The deeper ones are more serious. A woman is usually bypassed during appraisals and promotions. She is usually not invited to drink parties that male employees go to frequently. A woman is automatically considered less knowledgeable than her male counterparts. Indeed, in fields like mechanical engineering or construction, where very few women work, they are not even asked for an opinion. Often, males find it beneath their pride to take orders from a female in a male-dominated industry. A woman on maternity leave is often accused of taking a vacation.

Some Preconceptions

If she leaves on time, she is skipping work. If she stays back late, she’s just creating trouble. If she gets a promotion, it’s because there’s a women empowerment initiative in the company. Her promotion has nothing to do with her talents. Oh no!

Are your washroom visits lonely? Are you often asked whether you are someone’s assistant? Does your boss or colleagues insist on sitting with you till your work is done, or urge you to leave so that they can leave too?

If yes, welcome to the male-dominated industry. Here, females are few and far between. You’ll find a lot of women in the clerical staff. But, as you go up the ladder, it becomes lonely for sure. Sounds tough, doesn’t it?

Here are few tips for survival:

Don’t be offended easily

Easy to say, hard to practice. But in our experience, men have this Circle of Trust, where they feel they are at a safe place to talk about anything. If you want to gain entry in their inner circle, you have to sometimes agree to something you might not agree to otherwise. But that’s how it works. We are not asking you to laugh at sexist jokes or tolerate excessive body shaming. But learn to let some things go. And once you get inside, they could become your best friends.

Don’t run errands for anyone

You might be very helpful in real life. But at your office you must be totally professional. Don’t offer to get lunch or coffee for anyone, not even your boss. Just don’t do it, ever.

Don’t say yes if you don’t want to

Be tough. Just because you are the minority and every male has agreed to a certain proposal, don’t say yes. Of you feel something is not right, voice it out. Being in the majority is not the same as being right, and vice versa. Hold your ground where necessary, and trust me, men will respect you all the more for that.

Don’t decline drinks invites

If you know that the men in your team or group go out to drink, try to get yourself invited there. And once you get the invite, don’t decline. Attend at least a few of these gatherings. It is a good way of entering a man’s Circle of Trust. If you are a teetotaler, you can still opt for a mocktail or try to get them to a coffee place. But get to know them outside office, too. It really helps.

Don’t reject help

I know you are a very strong person and can do everything by yourself. But most men have this streak of helping the “Damsel in Distress”. If they do offer help, do not refuse, at least, not every time. If you’re sure their help will accelerate your work, take it. It gives them a chance to wear a halo around their head and you can relax a bit, too. Win-win situation!

You need not lose heart at being alone in an all-male workplace. You could turn it into an advantage for you! Do you have any tips for women working in a male-dominated industry? Please share them with us!

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About the author

Nisha Joshi

Nisha Joshi

Homemaker, new mother, true punekar, bookworm, blogger, photographer, budding chef, music enthusiast, likes to keep her fingers in many pies!

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