Friday, February 24, 2012
How working women can have it all
The plight of women in the business world has come a long way. However, challenges for women in the workplace still abound. Stereotyping and gender discrimination, for both women and men, is still alive and kicking across many industries and in many countries. Add to that the demands of having a family and the picture can seem like a bleak one.
Below are some tips on how to cope with being a woman in the workplace and how to achieve the work/life balance you want.
Have you dreamed of being a firefighter? A surgeon? A civil engineer? These (and many more) typically male-dominated areas can be more than a little intimidating for women. Whether it’s derogatory snickers from co-workers or a gender wage-gap, gender discrimination and stereotyping comes in many forms.
If gender discrimination is a concern for you, make sure you investigate the company atmosphere before you take the job. Do your research on pay brackets in your industry and at your level and be prepared to fight for what you’re worth. When you’re in the process of interviewing for a job, talk to the other female employees and gauge the environment of the workplace before you agree to take the position.
The baby years
Thirty years old, engaged or in a relationship and looking for a job? Many women in this situation find it to be a difficult one. Many employers view thirty-something women as being potentially expensive to employ due to the assumption that babies will soon be on the way and, with them, maternity leave payouts.
Often, the best approach in this situation is to be upfront with your employer. If having a family isn’t on the horizon for you, make sure you communicate that. If it is, let your employer know you’re fully committed to your role and that you’re not about to work for three months and then disappear for a year.
Likewise, if you are planning to have a family, thoroughly investigate your company’s maternity policy. Make sure it will work for you.
Find your balance
Balancing work and family life can feel like a constant juggling act. For many women with young children work hours can be a problem. How do you drop children at school at eight, pick them up at three and fit in a full day at work?
Ask your employer if you can start and finish your work day a little earlier. You can still commit to the same number of work hours, just at times which suit you. Investigate the possibility of roles which let you work from home. If you’d like flexible work hours or to maximise your time at home, consider freelancing or look at jobs that allow you to work remotely.
Taking the leap to working from home can mean you have less direction from senior team members available to you. Make sure you stay savvy by taking courses to top up your business skills. If you’re looking for a language school London is a good place to start. Language schools often have Business English lessons available so you can make sure you’re at the top of your game.