Many women confront gender inequality at their workplace. They often face the challenge of having certain types of behavior and expectations placed upon them as women.
However, stepping into the office doesn’t mean you have to shed your identity and conform to everyone else. Below are some takeaways for paving your own path at your workplace, and making most out of your own strengths and abilities.
Be a leader. Find a place in your office where you can take on a leadership role. This gives you the opportunity to network and meet others and share stories. While it may feel like reinforcing certain stereotypes, don’t be afraid to take charge in non-work related committees like morale-boosting socials or team-building events. Just make sure to connect those roles to your professional goals and the skills you need to get there.
You can also play a leadership role by being a mentor. Volunteering as a mentor can help you transfer your own knowledge and advice to new talent, where you can provide inspiration to young female professionals.
Talk about yourself. You shouldn’t feel like you need to shed your personal identity once you step through the doors of your workplace. Don’t be afraid to discuss things going on in your life—or what you’re passionate about. You can build deeper connections with coworkers and shows your true personality. You’ll also feel more comfortable knowing you can communicate authentically and express yourself in the office.
However, remember that you’re still at work, so be conscious of what you share and disclose to your coworkers. If there’s something extremely personal that you don’t want everyone knowing about, or it makes you uncomfortable to talk about, it’s probably not a story for the workplace.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It can often feel like women are held to a higher standard, where one slip up shows they can’t handle the fast-paced environment of a professional business setting. This can even cause women to be passed over when advancement opportunities come up.
Don’t hesitate to take risks and make mistakes. When this happens, apologize and move on. It is much better to take accountability and show you’re sorry, than brushing things under the rug or denying involvement.
Accept help. Asking for help or for feedback does not make you less independent. Asking for help may feel like you seem unknowledgeable or lack self-confidence, however, this is untrue. Instead, asking for help shows you are invested in your work, pay attention to the details, and care about doing well. When it comes to approaching someone for help, state what you know for sure, and ask for clarification on the things you are unsure about.
Above all, don’t let people take advantage of you and stand up for what you believe in. Do what feels right, get involved, and educate others. Never do something that you feel goes against your beliefs or values. Be true to yourself and never settle for less than what you’re worth.