Tessa Fletcher, a blogger for Weld My World, attacked a subject that isn’t necessarily written about a lot: how women can most effectively work and thrive in an environment populated mostly by men. While she comes at it from the welder’s perspective, we at The SmartVan think the advice provided would work for any industry where women are a distinct minority. As gender roles change and are redefined, more women are assuming roles traditionally filled by men, including field service. And for women working in the field — where collaboration is key — it pays to understand what it takes to work in what is often a male-dominated environment.
Here are some tips for how a woman who works mostly with men should handle herself.
- Carry yourself with confidence.
- While flagrant examples of sexual harassment are rare, some people who aren’t used to working with women may be judgmental, or skeptical that a woman can handle a supposed “man’s job.” The only way to prove yourself is to work as hard as you can at all times.
- Don’t gossip, or hang out with large groups of women at work.
- Focus on maintaining good posture and body language, since someone will always be watching.
- Trying to fit in with knowledge of traditionally masculine topics such as sports might help, as well as using the same abbreviations or lingo they do. There’s nothing wrong with putting in a little extra effort to fit in.
- Don’t dress provocatively.
- At the same time, you don’t need to look or dress like a man either. Fletcher advises, “There is room to play. Go ahead, get the pink welding helmet!”
- If someone does harass you, call the person out strongly and decisively. Always report serious infringements on your personal rights.
- Don’t flirt.
- Perform your job consistently well, and rewards will come. With employers in male-dominated workplaces looking for diversity, representing women well will reward both you and women everywhere.