Each day, millions, if not billions, of women around the world get up and work hard to support themselves and their families. These women work hard to reach their goals in life. Women working in male dominated fields (police officer, construction, firefighter, accounting/finance, comedy,and tech – just to name a few), face the added bonus of sexism, skepticism about their ability solely because of their gender, and in extreme cases, sexual harassment. These women often make sacrifices their male counterparts do not have to make. Societal expectations demand that women work, but also seek a partner and marriage, and maintain the majority of the responsibility for household work, which includes raising the children. This is a heavy burden for anyone. Do you believe this is something you are willing and able to do?
Now by no means am I saying that it’s not possible or even rewarding. If you truly have a passion for what you are doing, then you can overcome a lot to succeed in your career. However, it is important to note, that you may have to make sacrifices. You will have to ask yourself how much are you willing to sacrifice? Are you willing to put off marriage and children? And if so, for how long? Are you able to give up nights and weekends to make yourself part of the “good ole boys club”? These are questions you will eventually have to contend with, and the answer will be different for everyone.
The fact of the matter is, you will definitely have to work twice as hard as your colleagues to prove yourself. When entering a male dominated field, they will definitely try to break you down and treat you as if you don’t belong. The advice I can offer is to have a thick skin, as hard as it may seem, you cannot have an emotional breakdown in the work place or you will be seen as easy prey. Men get to play the good ole boys card and we get criticized for batting our eyelashes or just simply being a good looking woman in a male dominated field.
When we have actually worked hard and achieved the necessary things to put us at the top of our game, or give us longevity in our field we hardly ever get the credit for achieving things on our own merit. This is the reality of the situation.
In short, working in a male dominated field, as a woman, presents a number of challenges. We are seen as the weaker sex, and will be made to prove ourselves over and over again. While men are more readily accepted into the good ole boys club, women are often chastised for playing the sexy girls card. Well, I say play it up! Whatever advantages you have as a woman, use them. You will still be a competent professional, just one who plays by their own rules and gets ahead.