Gender equality in the workplace is a hot topic lately and one that should not be ignored. According to our Gender Roles & Equality in Agribusiness survey that was conducted in 2015, more than 70% of women felt outnumbered by men in agribusiness. The majority of women felt that there was gender inequality in the industry (79%), while only 47% of men felt there was gender inequality in agribusiness. Luckily, more than 80% of both genders felt that the attitude toward a woman working in agribusiness has changed for the better in the past ten years. While this is a large percentage, we still have work to do!
Being a woman in the workplace has never been simple. As females, we tend to have more to worry about how we are being portrayed by our peers and can easily be labeled, negative or otherwise. If we are too nice then we are a pushover but if we are too serious then we may be thought to be mean. We also tend to over-apologize for things that are not necessary and the list goes on! Although it has always been a challenge, we will continue to try to close the gap between genders in the workplace. In the meantime, here are a few tips to winning in the workplace as a woman.
Don’t Take It Personally
Constructive criticism is great for everyone but sometimes it is hard not to take it personally. Make sure that you are a good receiver of criticism because in the end, it only helps our personal development. We are often told we are being too “dramatic” or “emotional” if we are passionate about a certain topic or if we react a specific way. This can be frustrating so keeping a level head in every situation encountered is important.
Nobody is a better advocate for you than you. Some may say that women will follow the rules and never speak out but sometimes working hard isn’t enough to get noticed or improve your situation. If you want something, or if you would like to get to a certain place in your career, you must take initiative and ask for it! Stay in contact with your boss and the people above him or her and let them know what you are doing and how you bring value to the organization.
There is nothing more powerful than a confident woman in the office! Having the ability to control the room or any situation is something any woman should strive for. There is a happy medium, though; sometimes confidence can come off as controlling or arrogant. Listing your strengths and weaknesses and creating goals can help you achieve that medium and become a confident career woman who is still relatable to her peers. Without knowing what you need to improve on, there is no way for you to truly grow as a person, regardless of your gender.
Even though there may be gender equality issues in the workplace, this does not mean you have to “act like a man”. Men and Women both have strengths/weaknesses and different communication styles. Women bring a fresh perspective to a problem and analyze things differently and should use this to their advantage. Use your multi-tasking skills and emotional/social skills to build relationships with your peers and create new connections that could pay off in the future.
For more information about gender roles in agriculture, make sure to check out our Gender Roles & Equality in Agribusiness survey!