From a woman who has learnt the lessons herself, we share tips for finding confidence and power when working in male-dominated environments
CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Happiful
Being a woman working in male-dominated environments can be challenging – as Gemma Gratton knows all-to-well, having spent 17 years in the construction industry. Here, she shares her tips on how to thrive in such environments.
As I climbed the ranks in my construction career I had always been myself; a hands-on kind of girl, with an ‘all-in’ attitude. But when I reached a higher management level I noticed a change in my approach, and a degree of intimidation in relation to performance pressures. This came from a mixture of my own insecurities, and being the only woman, aside from our HR manager, in the whole company group. I had to have a serious reality check about who I was, and how and why I got here.
Eliminating the value of a ‘job title’ is of the utmost importance when working in such an environment; everyone is a human being, and we must speak to, and treat, people how we wish to be spoken to and treated ourselves. Your actions speak louder than unauthentic conversations to ‘fit in’ – and do not shy away from giving constructive feedback if a comment or situation has made you feel uncomfortable.
The most fundamental value a woman can have, working in any career, is self-belief. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect others to do this? Stop comparing yourself to others. When you believe in yourself, it oozes from your core as you’re in the driving seat to your own success.
Hold your own
Construction is a masculine environment, as you can imagine; being a female senior manager comes with its own issues. There were times when my competence was challenged, which left me feeling disempowered, and as though I had to prove myself – when I didn’t.
Knowing your worth is the most empowering value a woman can take ownership of. Women should have no need to prove anything to anyone but, instead, strive to be the best version of themselves they can be.
Don’t take things home with you
It’s inevitable that comments may be made that could play havoc with our minds. It takes time to understand that we should not lose sleep over comments, banter – or even the light slander – that may happen at work. I am guilty of this, and it took me a while to come around to the process of calling out what offended me, whilst dismissing the small talk that has no relevance to me or my life.
Let your personality shine
We all know that when we look good, we feel good – confidence goes hand-in-hand with this feeling. So, my advice would be to always feel comfortable with how you look; you don’t want your mind wandering, or to be concerned about something like this, taking you off track and diminishing your power.
I had this is in mind when I developed The Bee Thrive, a collection of timeless, defiant-yet-decorous, ethical clothing that will have you standing out, whilst feeling confident and comfortable when absolutely bossing your way through life.