The accepted definition of a Male-Dominated industry is one that contains 25% or fewer women in the workplace. It can be hard for women who have jobs in male-dominated fields to find the motivation to work especially with the scrutiny they may face. I have personally felt this scrutiny as I have worked alongside my dad in his trucking company. I have noticed that women are treated differently in male-dominated fields.
Women may be treated as if they are weaker than their male counterparts and not as capable of doing their jobs as well as their male co-workers. I remember times where I have felt angry with how I was treated – especially when I can do the job as well as any of my male counterparts. I have often asked myself, “Why should I work as hard as I do if I am not valued?”
When I was doing research on women in male-dominated careers, I stumbled upon “Research Based Advice for Women Working in Male-Dominated Field” by Sian Beilock – a writer for the Harvard Business Review. Beilock writes that talented women in their career fields can sometimes feel as if they are imposters in their own workspaces (2019).
Beilock makes an important observation: imposter syndrome impacts many talented young women in their career fields. In their own work spaces, young women can feel as though they are not as talented. The media can also portray women as grasping at straws in their careers or being inexperienced in their own fields. As someone who has worked with male coworkers, not all men set out to make their female counterparts feel like they do not know what they are talking about. It is just something that can happen unintentionally.
I decided to discuss the subject of this article with my friends and family. I found that I was not the only one who had experienced feeling inferior in a male-dominated workplace. My friend, Jillian Betts, a senior political science major, gave me some advice on dealing with mansplaining and feeling out of place – “It’s okay to speak up and show the men you’re just as knowledgeable. They’ll never know your worth if you don’t stick it out to show them.” In male-dominated fields, young women should use their voices to show how knowledgeable and talented they are!
In conclusion, young women have a place in male-dominated industries. If you are one of these amazing young ladies, know that your voice and talent are what have brought you this far and do not be intimidated by being a part of a male-dominated field. Even if you face scrutiny, you are talented and you will do an amazing job in your field.