There is no denying that we are seeing more and more women breaking into male-dominated industries, from construction to restoration. However, it can still be difficult to break the stereotypes and to ensure you are being treated the same as the men that are working at the firm. With that in mind, read on to discover some top tips on breaking into the male-dominated world of manufacturing.
Support and share with other women – More women are starting up in manufacturing, and it is important to have each other’s back. You are all going to go through the same rigorous training as each other, and so it is important to support and empower other women in the industry. By doing this, you will build personal success stories in sectors that aren’t always going to be dominated by the male sex. More opportunities are arising and things are quickly changing, so respect and recognize one and other.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a raise or promotion when the time is right – If it has become obvious to you that you deserve more from your job, be it a raise or a promotion; don’t be afraid to ask for it. You should not feel intimidated you have a male employer. Arm yourself with facts and figures regarding your progress so that you can clearly demonstrate why you feel you deserve more. Chances are your boss will respect you for being upfront and coming well prepared with evidence of your successes in the workplace.
It doesn’t matter what sex you are, the quality of your machinery is everything – In the manufacturing industry, the quality of your machinery and machine parts makes all of the difference. It does not matter whether you are a man or a woman, if you cut corners when it comes to the step motors or linear motion products you use, quality and efficiency will suffer. This is an industry whereby the worker and machine must work in harmony for true results to be achieved.
Make your voice heard – Men, by their very nature, are very vocal about what they want in the workplace. You should not simply assume that your voice is going to be heard; you need to make sure that this is the case.
Develop a sense of humour and a thick skin – One of the reasons why some men don’t react too well to women working in the manufacturing industry is because they feel that they need to change their behaviour because of your mere presence. Once they know that you won’t be offended if they make a joke about their girlfriend or say something rude, they relax. It’s important to acknowledge that the routine guy behaviour is not aimed at you, so let it blow over your head. Of course, this does not mean you should accept any inappropriate behaviour. If someone crosses the line and harasses you, you need to take action.
Stay true to how you conduct business with others – Do not change the way you work or conduct business simply because you are a female working in a male-dominated world. A lot of women feel their approach is too ‘female’ in nature, and so they try to find another way to address a situation. There’s no need to do this. Instead, you need to be yourself. You have got this far in life by being you, so why change now? The more you cultivate your own manner of doing business, and reinforce it, the more other people are going to buy into it. Forget about the traits of being a man or a woman!
Don’t let stereotypes get to you – Yes, we live in the 21st century, but, sadly, stereotypes do exist. Many women have felt the frustrating moment when a client looks straight through them and immediately converses with one of the men from the team instead. It’s incredibly annoying and demeaning, but the best thing you can do is not take it personally. Hold your head high and do your job instead. By doing this, you will become an integral part of the workforce, and your boss and employees will see you as a valued member of the team. Surely this is much more important?
Don’t be aggressive, be assertive – There is no denying that you are going to have to work a little bit harder in a male-dominated business, but it is certainly worth it. It’s important not to demand respect, especially from men that have been working at the firm longer than you. You need to earn respect. This is something that will naturally come if you focus on your job and work hard. For instance, there is bound to be a moment that arises whereby you know how to do something and someone else doesn’t. Instead of trying to control the situation and give off an attitude, you will naturally gain control if you focus on the task at hand so that others can follow without feeling patronised or backed into a corner.
Seek a mentor – Both male and female business leaders have talked about the value of having a mentor. Most people underestimate it until they have their own mentor. This can be a female or a male. You simply need someone that can give you advice regarding different issues in the workplace and can lend a professional ear. You will be shocked by how much of a difference this makes.
You have to take the leap – Last but not least, the most important tip of them all; take the leap! There are more and more women that are taking vital roles in many different industries, from high finance and national politics to, of course, heavy manufacturing. We often get told that we are too emotional to work in manufacturing or too fragile. However, what makes us effective leaders is our ability to emphasize. We understand the details and we get the big picture regarding what the firm is trying to achieve. Being a woman is your advantage; so make sure you use it as such. Believe in yourself, don’t be afraid to state your ideas, and grab this opportunity with both hands.