Even today, sexism against women can hold back the careers of some female professionals. Although ultimately it is society that needs to change, there are some things female professionals can do to ensure they are not held back while waiting for sexist attitudes to fade away. Here are three tips to help women get ahead.
The first tip for female professionals is to know when to speak up. Staying silent in the face of sexism against women allows people to think it is acceptable behavior. According to activist Maggie Kuhn, women should always speak their minds, even if they don't feel confident doing so. Professional women should always let sexists know they don't appreciate sexist remarks. Don't hesitate to escalate situations to the attention of a manager or other superior if necessary.
Along with calling out sexism, female professionals should not be afraid to debunk sexist stereotypes whenever they can. For example, when a professional woman is in a situation where men think she can't possibly be any good, her skills become a secret weapon. Poker champion Annie Duke smashed her opponents in the World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions by playing along with their assumption that she wasn't capable of winning. Being underestimated can help women outshine their opponents, which can lead them to great success in their careers.
Finally, female professionals should never give up without a fight. Although it can be depressing to continuously face sexism in the workplace, it's important to carry on despite the discrimination. By staying focused on specific goals, women can have successful careers that break through the barriers people try to put in their way.
Carrying on and remaining strong when frustrated and discouraged can be tough. Women must practice being assertive in order to make their voices heard over those of the men or other women who want to silence them. It's also important for female professionals to have a strategy in place for managing stress. Facing discrimination on a daily basis can grind even the strongest woman's morale down. To combat this effect, it's important to make time for activities that promote relaxation, such as a favorite sport, social activities or a personal spiritual or reflective practice. It may also help to read about or network with other strong professional women, who can give encouragement, act as role models and share strategies that help women get ahead in a male-dominated workplace.
By staying focused on their goals, persevering in the face of discouragement and speaking up against sexism, women can succeed and even thrive in the workplace. Female professionals should always seek support from other successful women who can help them get ahead and stay ahead in their chosen careers.
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