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Men and women are undoubtedly different. Different doesn’t equal stereotyping though. For instance, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being aggressive as a woman at the workplace. Aggression, however, is seen as a negative trait when it is associated with women but a positive trait if associated with men.
Aggression is necessary for goal achievement, and any gender should be aggressive if they are to achieve their goals. This article delves into common gender stereotypes in the business world and how you can deal with them.
Why Should Gender Stereotypes in Business Bother You?
These stereotypes can easily become a hindrance to your work. They are a form of distraction and can make you very uncomfortable at work. If you choose to work within the limits of stereotypes, your abilities are likely to be looked down upon by others.
What are the Common Gender Stereotypes in Business?
1. That Women Will at Some Point Quit to Take Care of Their Families
This stereotype has been used to deny women opportunities for professional growth. Women are seen as the primary caregivers. Men’s careers are not expected to slow down when they become fathers though.
2. Women’s Opinions are Judged More Harshly
In the popular book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, being confident, persistent, direct, assertive, and strong as a woman equals domination and selfishness. The same traits are lauded in males. This same perspective is carried to what a woman says even in a serious meeting.
Her opinions and contributions are highly likely to be criticized maybe in an attempt to “weaken” her dominance. Male comments, opinions, and viewpoints are more likely to be accepted with much less criticism. If the woman wants to rebuff the male’s contribution, she is likely to be rebuffed.
How Do You Deal with Gender Stereotypes in Business?
Focus on excellence in everything that you do. Strive to do your work so well that no one has anything to criticize. Do this consistently and with a positive attitude for a period of time. Very soon, you will have risen above the stereotypes. An excellent employee will stand out, regardless of their gender. Their contribution to the business’ success will break down the wall of discrimination.
2. Professional Dressing
The right wardrobe will give people no reason to discriminate you in terms of sex. Looking the part is vital. Go for professional attire that you are comfortable in. This way, you build your confidence, and no one can put you down. Remember not to mimic the men in your dressing. Just be clean and neat.
4. Steer off the Stereotypes
If there is a particular stereotype in your workplace, then do what you can to steer off it. For instance, if the other women are said to be gossips, ensure that you keep gossip at bay. If the stereotype is female leaders are moody, then strive to be a strong business leader. Set clear expectations and give direct feedback.
5. Be Knowledgeable and Speak Up
If you are an expert in a particular field and you accompany a male colleague for a negotiation or event, you need to be knowledgeable. If they are directing all the questions to your colleague, respectfully build his responses up. Another way to ensure that you are knowledgeable is via traveling (see #6 below).
6. Expand Your Worldview
Go see the world, learn, get challenged, meet people from different cultures, and expand your worldview. You’ll bring back so much knowledge that you can apply to your career. Be sure to read top rated travel rewards credit card reviews and take advantage of them.
All in All
As you can see, the above stereotypes could really affect the work environment, motivation levels, relationships at work, and even business performance. The best thing to do as a woman is to look for ways to stand out, ranging from speaking up and modifying your style of dress as well as in how excellently you do your work.