As a young female trying to break into a male dominated world of sports broadcasting, I was met with endless obstacles. Despite having been a professional athlete in the past, and putting in years and countless hours in the evening and on weekends, my foot seemed to be stuck on the same spot on the ladder. It wouldn’t budge. That is a big reason why I quit the sports world.
Now I am happier than ever, doing a job that I love, telling stories I am passionate about, connecting with my peers, and being treated as an equal, but it took me giving up on what I thought was my “dream job” to find the actual dream career, all because I felt stuck on the ladder.
Let’s be honest, ladies. While many of us enjoy equal footing with our male counterparts at work, there are many women all over the world who are not treated (or paid) as equals. Don’t take my word for it, the Let’s be honest, ladies. While many of us enjoy equal footing with our male counterparts at work, there are many women like us all over the world who are not treated (or paid) as equals. Indeed, the World Economic Forum estimates that it will take over 200 years for the gender pay gap to close globally. Even in supposedly enlightened countries with equality legislation women are still underestimated, misrepresented, condescended and mansplained to. As more women establish their own businesses and rise to senior positions of power, the landscape is slowly changing. But the fact remains that many women are not taken as seriously as they should be at work.
In fact, a friend of mine recently shared a story about a colleague that was overpassed for a promotion because of her mat leave.This story broke my heart and enraged me all at the same time. So I decided to do some research to find some ways which you can be more assertive at work and ensure that your peers and seniors alike take you seriously…
Conduct yourself with the utmost professionalism
It goes without saying that if you insist on being taken seriously in the workplace, wherever your workplace is, your own behaviour needs to be unimpeachable. Try not to focus on what others are getting up to or getting away with. What they do is their own businesses and you won’t accomplish anything by bringing yourself down to their level.
Be polite, be warm, you can even be funny. But know where to toe the line and stay on the right side of propriety. Which brings us to…
Call out toxic behaviour
Nobody enjoys rocking the boat. But toxic, misogynistic behaviour cannot be tolerated in the workplace. Lately we have seen more women sticking up for themselves and feeling like they have a voice (hence the #metoo movement) but I can only imagine how difficult this can actually be when it is your shoes and not someone else’s.
The trouble is that such behaviour and language isn’t always done with malicious intent. Sometimes its just an insensitivity caused by decades of living with a blindfold on, especially when you aren’t the ones that have had to deal with the inequality. Where you can, talk to the offender calmly about their transgressions. Wherever you don’t feel comfortable doing that, address the matter with your line manager.
Look the part
Yes I, like I am sure many of you have a university degree, we have an education, we have experience, we have work ethic? Shouldn’t that be enough to be treated equally? Well it is also important to look professional in the work space. Not only will looking good, groomed, and professional make others respect you more, but it will make you feel more confident about yourself. During my research one easy idea that I came across was instead of switching out your glasses for contacts, keep the frames on. Psychologists suggest that wearing our glasses to work can actually make others perceive us as more intelligent and authoritative. If you’re worried that your existing frames are less than flattering, or maybe not appropriate for work, now might be the perfect time to head to https://www.eyeglasses.com to get yourself some new frames. As well as treating yourself, you’re investing in your future career.
Look after yourself and confidence will follow
Finally, as mentioned above, taking care of yourself personally, mentally, and physically, will only help you feel your best, and trust me that shows professional as well. Though you may be plagued by impostor syndrome, you need to embrace the domino effect that comes with looking after your mind and body. Treat yourself with respect by eating right, exercising regularly, growing your knowledge and skills and staying socially active. Confidence will always be a consequence of good self care. And confidence will allow you to not only shine in your work, but enable you to stick your head above the parapet and call others out when their behaviour doesn’t meet the standard you expect from your workplace.