If you think gender isn’t still a hot-button topic in the modern workplace, you must truly have it made. Currently, there are still only 22 female CEOs to be found in the current fortune 500 list.
It’s still a male dominated world ladies. While sexism is still obviously a major reason behind this, you might be shocked to learn that several things you’re doing every day at work may in fact be a contributing factor to your current spot on the company totem pole.
Let’s take a look at 5 (sort of) easy tips you can implement to help start closing the gender gap that’s currently stifling your career:
1. Stop trying to be so darned likeable
The need to be liked by everyone isn’t a gender-specific issue in the workplace. However, women do have the tendency to overdo it at times when working in a male-dominated environment. I’ve seen this issue run through the entire gamut, from excusing a lack of chivalry to downright sexism.
You don’t need to downplay yourself, or apologize to some lumbering mass of flesh when he bumps into you and makes you spill coffee on yourself. Nor do you have to feel bad if you don’t give a crap what’s happening in hockey, baseball or football currently.
You deserve to be treated like an equal, regardless if your interests don’t align. You don’t need to put on a special personality mask at work. Be who you are and don’t be afraid to call the men in the group out when they’re acting inappropriate and obviously need some lessons in manners from the opposite sex.
2. Cultivate your hunger
Don’t resign yourself to a cubicle when you want the 500 square foot office at the corner of the building reserved for upper management only. If your company’s never hired a female CFO, resign that you’re going to be the very first and don’t stop til you get there.
You have to be passionate about achieving your goals and do whatever it takes to get there. Nobody’s going to give it to you. Just stay mindful that you may have to work harder than the men in the group to get the same positions and level of pay.
3. Make sure you know where all the mirrors are located
The title could lead you to believe that I’m starting my way down the path to sexism and unenlightenment. I’m not! When the chips are down and maybe the men in the office are pushing your patience and confidence to the brink of failure, you want to have a nice big mirror to take a look at yourself in.
Stand in front and remind yourself that nothing and nobody will stand in your way. Take a moment to chant a favorite mantra or two, so you can go back and face everyone with your head held high: “There’s nothing I can’t do, and not a single man in the world that can get in my way!”
4. Speak up, speak out
Plain and simple, don’t be rude or jump the gun here. But, if there’s blatant sexism all around you at your job, you have to be the one to speak up. Be the strong one if you’re not the only one and everyone else is too afraid to call a spade-a-spade. If you’re all alone – well, you’re still the one that’s gotta do it.
It’s not an easy road to go down if management isn’t willing to help and/or you’re dismissed because you spoke out. But a life lived without testing your limits isn’t worth living at all, right? You’ll always feel like you’re under someone’s thumb otherwise.
See: The Top Ten Myths and Facts About Suing Your Employer for Sex Discrimination
5. Help other women rise to the top
Say you’ve worked your rear off to make it to the top, despite the anti-feminist mentality that exists in your company. Don’t be one of “those” who leaves all her sisters down on the bottom because they should have to toil and struggle just as much as you did.
Fight for them like you fought for yourself!
Do whatever you can to get them on a fair and even keel with the men. No woman made this point better than Madeleine Albright when she said: “There’s a special place in hell reserved for women who don’t help other women.” Hand them a lifeline and the favor will one day be returned – even if its just a karmic reward of some sort.