IWD: how women can get ahead at work

By Shari Hofer, VP marketing, Rosetta Stone

As high-profile female leaders continue to infiltrate the boardroom and even lead our country, there’s a welcome shift in the way women are being perceived. Indeed, International Women’s Day (IWD) certainly highlights progress in changing attitudes towards strong females, however a level of inequality still exists. In 2016, 33 percent of global businesses had no women senior management, with women occupying just 22 percent of senior roles in G7 countries.

There are also certain industries that are still renowned for their underrepresentation of women. Take the tech sector, for example. According to a report from Next Generation Republic, less than 7 percent of tech positions in Europe are filled by women, which is astounding. From my experience, there is a number of reasons for this; namely gender stereotypes, a lack of support and sometimes a hostile work environment. There is clearly still a long way to go when it comes to matching the opportunities – and pay – that men have.

As a female executive in a male-dominated industry, here are my top tips on how women can get ahead at work:

Take advantage of every opportunity in the workplace

The majority of organisations will offer training courses alongside day-to-day support in the office. Make sure you are aware of all opportunities available and know how you can use them. Whether it’s leadership training or learning a new language, widening your skillset and broadening your education can significantly increase your value in the workplace.

Believe in yourself

It’s often easy for women to feel overlooked and intimidated when living and working in a male-dominated environment. Women shouldn’t feel in any way intimidated by their male colleagues. As a woman in the tech industry, I have seen first-hand how difficult it can be to make your mark as a woman in a sector that is predominantly male. We need to recognise our role and the contribution we are making to our employers, and fight to be acknowledged and rewarded in the same way that men are. Be confident and bold to make yourself heard.

Encourage each other

in a display of sisterhood, women should be looking out for other women in the workplace. Be a mentor, not a competitor, and help promote female colleagues’ skills. On that note, look to your female colleagues for support and guidance. In my job it’s important to bounce ideas off, and discuss opportunities, with everyone I work with, and I make an extra effort to ensure that the women I work with feel appreciated and that their opinions matter. We are all facing the same gender-based barriers, so it’s important to join forces and show how valuable we are as a whole to the business world.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

In order to get ahead in business, communication is key. This can include communications with your colleagues face-to-face, with customers or clients over email, and business contacts overseas. As businesses increasingly seek a global footprint, having the ability to speak different languages is crucial. It can help build your relationships, increase your cultural awareness and create a collaborative environment that will give you greater confidence to talk to international colleagues and customers

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