5 things to not do in a male-dominated industry as a woman

In the last 100 years, women have made major strides in the corporate world. From Even in Nigeria, we have success stories like Ibukun  Awosika, Ndidi Nwuneli and younger entrepreneurs like Odun Oweniyi and Dolapo Popoola. Despite these strides, discrimination against women in the workplace is still a prevalent issue.


According to Top Sexism in the Workplace Statistics, At work, 42% of women have experienced gender discrimination, and women earn 17.6% less than men. In addition, 23% of employed women have reported being perceived as incompetent due to their gender.

More often than not, women are treated like interlopers who should be satisfied with whatever is handed to them from the generosity of the prominent gender in the workspace. But as more women find financial independence and test their limits in the world of work regardless of the tumultuous & constant vapid remarks that trail them, we think there is a handy guide of small changes we can all make to reduce needless friction in our professional relationships. 

It’s important to know that the measures below are not guaranteed to prevent harassment or intimidation, but it is worth implement if they can help improve our odds of progressing in our careers despite discrimination and negative stereotyping. 


Here are five ways to make your workplace more woman-friendly

Never downplay your accomplishments:

In male-dominated industries, men are constantly applauding themselves even on the minutest progress so it’s imperative that women become their own biggest advocates. When you constantly try to minimize your accomplishments, you give your superiors the impression that you are not a star player and create opportunities for others to take credit for your work. If no one can see how you contribute, why would your bosses feel the need to promote or applaud you?  

To avoid looking incompetent or having someone else claim your work as theirs, stay bold & be proud of your achievements and own your excellence confidently.

Don’t be afraid to speak up

A person who doesn’t contribute will almost always be seen as someone with zero ideas. You have done the work, you have the experience to show, don’t rob your team of your bright analytical problem-solving ideas because you’re afraid.

Studies have shown that the more you practice contributing your opinions on fairly important issues, it becomes easier to brainstorm & contribute in highly volatile situations with higher stakes. Remember, your expertise is valuable, and your perspective and insights are unique, so if you value your career progression, do speak up & be visible.

Be visible, but do it on your own terms. 

Books like “Think Like a Man” have built a copycat culture that aims to prompt women to act in a certain prescribed way that may not come naturally to them, especially in male-dominated industries. However, studies on corporate psychology suggest that acting certain prescribed ways that are alien to our default state may cause one to feel anxiety & pressure, which might lead to abnormal behaviour and mental illness.

Be visible, but you do not need to act more masculine, instead balance the masculine energy with feminine energy. Be true to yourself and embrace your own unique strengths and qualities. Remember, the aim is to stand out, not fit in like a mildly interesting wallpaper.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

The quickest way to accelerate your career progression is to seek out mentors/sponsors. So ask for help or guidance when you need it, ask your colleagues & even your boss. This shows that you’re willing to learn & it helps you form beneficial relationships & important connections that can readily come to your aid if need be. 

Don’t tolerate discrimination or harassment

Unfortunately, Women who experience sexually harassing behaviours may also be unlikely to report because they believe or know that grievance procedures favour the institution & discrimination and harassment are prevalent in male-dominated industries. Regardless, It’s essential to have zero tolerance for such behaviour and to speak up when you witness or experience it. 

Studies have soon that to enable professional well-being outcomes, women have to document their experiences to minimize job stress, and productivity or performance decline. I strongly advised that you don’t let the pervasive nature of an industry drive you to become a recluse & not stand up for yourself, know your rights and seek support if you need it.

Navigating a male-dominated industry as a woman can be challenging, but by avoiding these five behaviors and actions, you can position yourself for success and make a positive impact in your industry & for women around the world.


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