There are several reasons why it is rare to find a woman on top of a business in a male-dominated industry. First, there are more men in these industries than women. According to the 2016 Census, only 26 percent of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workers are women, while they make up 47 percent of the workforce overall.
Second, even when women work in male-dominated industries, they are often not in positions of power. A study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that companies with at least one woman on their executive team performed better financially than those without female executives. However, only 17 percent of companies in the Fortune 500 had a woman in a senior leadership role.
Lastly, women can face significant obstacles when trying to rise to the top of a male-dominated industry. They may be passed over for promotions or be the target of gender-based discrimination. Additionally, they may have to work twice as hard as their male counterparts to be taken seriously.
Despite these challenges, there are examples of successful women who have broken through the glass ceiling in male-dominated industries. If you want to follow in the footsteps of these trailblazers, here are a few tips.
Gain the Skills and Experience
To succeed in a male-dominated field, women must have the skills and experience needed for the job. This means gaining relevant education and training and working hard to develop expertise. Additionally, women must be assertive and stand up for themselves when pursuing promotions or opportunities. It can be challenging to break through these industries’ glass ceiling, but anything is possible with determination and perseverance.
Getting the skills you need is simultaneous with experience. You can’t have one without the other. Your skills are what you use to perform your job, and experience gives you the ability to do it well. The more experience you have, the better you become at using your skills. There are many ways to get relevant education and training, including attending workshops, taking classes, or earning a degree in the field.
When it comes to obtaining work experience, internships are a great way to get your foot in the door. Many companies offer internship programs that allow students to learn about the industry and gain hands-on experience. If unsure where to start, reach out to your school’s career center or look for internships online. Once you’ve landed an internship, give it your all and aim to make a good impression.
In any industry, networking is essential for career growth. But male-dominated industries can benefit women trying to break through the glass ceiling. When meeting new people, exchange business cards and connect on social media. Attend industry events and participate in professional organizations. These activities will help you expand your network and meet people who can help you further your career.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for introductions. If you know someone who knows someone in the industry you’re interested in, ask for an opening. This strategy will allow you to build a relationship with the person directly rather than just adding them to your professional network.
Invest in Appearance
In many industries, first impressions are everything. When meeting someone for the first time, they will likely form an opinion of you based on your appearance. It is especially true in male-dominated fields, where women may get judged more harshly than men. As such, it’s essential to invest in your appearance and dress the part.
When selecting your outfit, avoid anything too revealing or flashy. Instead, opt for a professional and polished look. Consider your industry and company culture when putting together a fashion style. If you’re unsure about what to wear, err on caution and choose something classic and timeless.
Your hair and makeup should also be well-groomed. Keep your hairstyle simple and neat, and avoid excessive makeup. The goal is to look put-together, not over-the-top. However, your smile will likely be your best accessory, so don’t forget to flash those pearly whites. If you are not confident with your smile, you can visit the dentist office to help you achieve the look you desire.
Be Confident, and Succeed
Self-confidence is vital in any situation, but it’s essential in a male-dominated industry. Women who are assertive and confident are more likely to be successful than those who doubt themselves. When you believe in your abilities, others will too.
If you don’t feel confident in your skills or experience, fake it until you make it. Act like you belong in the room and be comfortable with taking charge. It’s also essential to trust your gut instinct and not second-guess yourself. Remember, you were chosen for the job because of your qualifications, so have faith in your abilities.