Have you ever been criticised for being ‘too aggressive’ at work? Or are you being told not to be ‘too friendly’? Now and then, being a woman in the workplace gives you a no win-win situation. It seems like everything you do is never the right one, as people always see you through popular women stereotypes. How should you actually act at work, then?
Women in the workforce is part of a modern phenomenon. While in some regions women are still confined to their traditional roles, most women in the world are celebrating the accomplishments of feminist movement.
However, despite growing women contribution to support the economy, inequality and discrimination continue to befall in the workplace. Entering once male-dominated professions, women in the workplace are required to face various challenges, such as gender bias, sexual harassment, work-life imbalance, and wage gap.
See: Gender Discrimination in the Tech Industry Hinders Growth
However, the question remains – how should women conduct themselves at work?
Are you aspiring to be the next future leader? If you are of an impression, that the only way to achieve your dream is be like a man, then you have gotten it all wrong. Don’t ever be ashamed of being a woman.
If you want to be an authentic leader, all you have to do is to embrace your feminine power. Hone your skills without neglecting your natural distinctiveness, as this will help build a powerful personal brand.
Women have equal capabilities as men. But what makes them stay in the lower grade is ‘low self-esteem’. As a matter of fact, at some point women do tend to surpass men’s competencies in leadership roles. Yet, women hold back because of their self-doubt.
Therefore, it is crucial for you to stay confident about yourself. Invest your time to develop on yourself, better personal growth, so you can articulate your message and bring impact to your surroundings.
As in comparison to men, women are known to be more hesitant when it comes to taking risks. You should change this stereotype. Sometimes, you have to be bold for change and take necessary risks. Don’t be afraid of falling, as long as you have the courage to stand up again. Challenge yourself with new things and make strategic plan to scale up your career.
When you first join an organisation at the entry level, you might find loads of women co-workers. However, when you move up to senior roles, you will find that most of your regular meetings are attended by male managers.
If you are in similar position, you should always keep strong connection with women in your company. To prevent feeling isolated and lonely at the top, you should encourage and support other fellow women to aspire fulfilling careers as well. Through this approach, you can build upon sisterhood at work and support each other in the growth path.
Perhaps this is the most important. Either you want it or not, the way you look will greatly determine your role in a company. As for women, the way you dress up will affect your security. There are reasons why sexual harassment happens in the workplace, and women are most often a victim to such acts. Supporting or instigating such actions begins right from your wardrobe – the attire you don at work.
To protect yourself from falling prey to such acts doll up professionally and conduct yourself well even in meetings. Also body language is important to not showcase any signs of unprofessional behaviour. Don’t wear anything too revealing, as it would only cause unwanted distraction at work.
While women have still a way to go, to close the gender divide, challenge the stereotypes and misnomers, hold a stand, be bold to voice rights to be able to bring about a sense of true independence in thoughts and leadership styles. With Millennial women predicted to enter the workforce in large numbers soon, could help bring about a change in perceptions globally.
While women are increasingly participative in the workplace and assume leadership roles early on in their career, there will always remain boundaries and limitations as to what can and should not be done at work.
While it is not easy to stay off being judged for all you do at work by men counterparts, right from the way you dress, the way you talk, your body language to how you walk and so on – but do make sure to observe a line of caution to not go overboard with novel ideas to self-express your style and exuberate confidence.
The trick is, to be safe, stay conscious of the people around, observe caution in your words, behaviour and actions to be considered seriously and respected for who you are. Carry yourself with dignity and pride!
Read also: Singapore Encourages Career Opportunities for Women in Tech