Gender disparity at the workplace cannot be denied. This deep rooted patriarchy has been carried out over generations and has marginalized women in all sectors – dismal gender ratios at birth, education and gender roles women are forced to take on in their home lives. Add to it the skill and precision one requires to climb the aspirational ladder, and the pressure is immense.
As for women in the workplace, we might have a long way to go, but we have definitely come a long way too. A record number of women now hold the top spot at Fortune 500 companies. Of the companies that make up the 2019 Fortune 500 list, 33 have women CEOs. Although there is a considerable growth, women make up just 6.6% of CEOs at the companies on the Fortune’s list. It continues to be an uphill climb but there still are some loopholes that surface when our personalities as a gender come into play.
Here are some mistakes women seem to be making at work that could be responsible for holding them back:
Getting Overly Emotional
Most professionals are overworked and women have entered this world only recently. Fair play is hard simply because when a woman calls it a day and heads home, a task list awaits her there too. But a man usually goes back to a well-managed life. It’s not abnormal for anyone to sometimes feel the pressure, and shed a few tears. But ladies, do not fall into the trap and break down at work!
Unfortunately, crying at work is an absolute no-no. A professional is nothing if not pragmatic and if your decision-making capabilities can be overruled by emotion the battle has been lost even before it’s begun. Take deep, long breaths when you feel overwhelmed or drink a glass of water and try to calm your mind down.
Settling for lesser/not asking for what you deserve
We are conditioned to give without expecting anything – leading us to believe that we should be doing more work for a small compensation. Hence most women fail to realise that they deserve a well-paying job or a raise that they’ve worked hard for. Change the narrative of the words you say to your inner self and you’ll see the world around you change too. No one is going to notice your hard work if you don’t stand up for it. Be it a salary negotiation or an appraisal meeting, vocalise your thoughts and ask for your due.
Fiercely competing against female peers
Women are continually being pitted against one another, and we can blame this on patriarchy, but they fall prey to it and feel the need to compete against each other. Eventually, they are fighting amongst themselves. Unhealthy competition doesn’t only affect personal careers, but also the business. It’s about time women realised this. Find or create a confidant in your female co-worker instead of building spite for them. Look up to a woman senior to you as someone to learn from, a junior as someone to set an example for, and the one next to you as a friend who has your back through thick and thin.
Not networking with coworkers
Well, we understand that you have people to take care of and things to do outside of work, but staying at your desk all day will only bring you limited progress and satisfaction. Even if you don’t have other things to do, and just don’t like to mingle with colleagues after work hours, it is an essential part of your growth at the workplace. To get further ahead, you need to break out of your comfort zone and step into unchartered territories. It will also help you understand the people you work with better, which can be your guiding tool during harder conversations whilst at work.
Women tend to have a nurturing side that makes it hard for them to separate personal and professional attitudes. They often get stuck with ‘office housework’ and extra work in the form of ‘good-natured favors.’ You may want to help a colleague out, and yes, sometimes you should – but don’t start to do their jobs for them. Remember, unlike your role in your partner’s, parent’s or child’s life, at work everyone is dispensable. Take on only as much as you desire.
Over the last decade, there have been a number of companies that have made efforts like introducing period leaves and longer maternity leaves to better suit the working environment for women. Simultaneously, many have also introduced paternity leaves to better support women at home taking care of a newborn. With progress brewing worldwide, it falls upon the modern working women to also support one another and keep their work ethic healthy and ever evolving.
(Edited by Neha Baid)