How to Succeed in a Male-Dominated Environment: Creating a Culture where Everyone Succeeds!
Despite some great advances, women in general and women in STEM fields specifically face enormous ongoing challenges when it comes to handling bias, demanding equal respect and asserting themselves with authority while not creating a perception of being overtly pushy. Today's women need tools to help them handle adversity, take back credit when others claim their work and speak with confidence while not taking situations personally. Jennifer Webb has been arming women for years with no-nonsense tools and language to maintain a competitive edge in today's global marketplace while creating a non-threatening yet authoritative demeanor.
Statistics are alarming and pervasive on how women within STEM professions are quitting due to negative work environments - even by many well-meaning companies - and how it impacts everyone in the process.
Here are a few samples of what is happening…
- According to the Society of Women Engineers, of 6000 individuals receiving engineering degrees between 1985 and 2003, one in four women were either unemployed or not employed in engineering or related fields by 2006, while only one in 10 men were not in engineering fields. And the US Economics and Statistic Administration found that 40% of men (2.7 million) with STEM college degrees work in STEM jobs, but only 26% of women (0.6 million) with STEM degrees work in STEM jobs.
- In 248 performance reviews of high-performers in tech, negative personality criticism (such as abrasive, strident, or irrational) showed up in 85% of reviews for women and just 2% of reviews for men. Joan Williams in a Harvard Business Review article asserts it is ridiculous to assume that 85% of women have personality problems while only 2% of men do.
- In a randomized, double-blind study by Yale researchers, science faculty at 6 major institutions evaluated applications for a lab manager position. Applications randomly assigned a male name were rated as significantly more competent and hirable and offered a higher starting salary and more career mentoring, compared to identical applications assigned female names.
- Investors preferred entrepreneurial ventures pitched by a man than an identical pitch from a woman by a rate of 68% to 32% in a study conducted jointly by HBS, Wharton, and MIT Sloan. “Male-narrated pitches were rated as more persuasive, logical and fact-based than were the same pitches narrated by a female voice.
Jenifer Webb teaches strategies to help women be highly effective in the business world, maintain their confidence and ensure their talents and skills are utilized; they remain in their chosen professions and don’t drop out due to pressures and overwhelming challenges.
Key take-aways include:
- Overcoming obstacles/adversities through a resilient mindset; feeding the positive
- Maintaining confidence, especially during periods of doubt
- Monitoring and changing beliefs that don’t support success
- Anticipating setbacks and strengthening skills to bounce back
- Keeping goals in mind and moving toward them
- Learning how to be assertive without alienating others
- Realizing perception is reality and modeling how you want others to see you
- Asking when you don’t know and saying no with credibility
- Communicating with people in their “language” in order to build trust and rapport
- Reading body language and matching others’ non-verbal language
- Handling conflict diplomatically
- Learning appropriate responses in order to lead and model excellence
- Awareness in differences in gender communication and adjusting
- Teaching inclusion (i.e. women in STEM fields)
- Presenting your ideas with confidence and effectiveness
- Skills to start taking small risks to create big results
Quick Reminders, when someone…
Speaks up in a meeting and claims your idea is theirs. You…thank them for adding on to your idea. “Bob thank you for bringing my idea back up and adding that twist. That’s great and I really appreciate your input.”
Interrupts continually and talks over you. You…state person’s name, “John, I hear you but let me finish first and you can talk.” Keep on talking. If John persists, be a stuck record. “As I said John, please let ___(team, individuals, etc.) hear this, and then the floor is yours.”
Asks to speak to the person in charge or ignores what you say as if you’re invisible. You…ask “What can I do for you, I’m the person in charge (with a smile).” If they say, “Oh, well I need an engineer (which you are)” smile and say, “That’s me.” If they say “I’ll wait until ___ can talk with me.” Then tell them that’s fine, however it may be a day or two depending on his schedule. The idea here is QTIP, Quit Taking It Personally. People are conditioned to have bias while our job is to model the behavior we want and learn to let go of others’ prejudices.
There are many tools to handle negative responses while not necessarily any quick fixes. However by changing our mindsets and arming ourselves with a deeper understanding of how to handle and embrace bias and conflict, it enables us to handle adversity more effectively with less stress while modeling behavior we want others to follow, empowering everyone.
“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom