What Female Business Students Should Be Ready For
While it’s true that more women than ever are succeeding in business, the fact remains that we, women, face a very different landscape to their male counterparts. Equality has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few years, but in many parts of the world, and many industries, women are yet to be seen as equally capable as men, especially since a large percentage of people you’ll have to do business with are men. While this should not put you off pursuing a career in the world of business, it’s certainly something to take into account. The goal of this story/article is to give a perspective to young women in studying of what they will have to deal in the future, based on the accumulated experience of several female businesswomen and corporate workers, including myself. You can start preparing for this now by asking yourself a few questions:
– How far up the ladder are you looking to climb?
– Do you want to work for yourself, or someone else?
– Who do you hope to end up working with?
Changing Attitudes Are Improving Life for Women in Business
The second of the above is perhaps the most important question, and certainly, the one that will have the biggest bearing on your future in the world of business. While it’s true that many people embark on business studies with an eye on the corporate world, many people leave university with a greater interest in pursuing their own projects, than in slotting themselves into a preexisting structure. While attitudes have changed massively in recent years, for many industries such as banking and investment, the workplace remains excessively masculine. If you plan on climbing the ladder of such an organization and making it to the top, you are inevitably going to face some neanderthal attitudes, often from older people in the company but also from people who have just finished their studies. Fortunately, the current climate towards workplace harassment is changing. Complaints are now taken far more seriously than in previous years, and hopefully, the culture is changing. A willingness to speak up against anything that makes you uncomfortable is key to continuing the current trend towards equality. “You can’t just wait and look for inclusion you need to create your own space where you would be comfortable working” – there is truth in the words of Sophia Amoruso, the self-made woman-millionaire.
Many Regions Remain Behind the Curve
One thing worth mentioning is that, even if mentalities within many parts of the world are starting to change, if you find yourself doing business with customers and clients around the globe, you may have to be prepared for a shock. Many regions are not accustomed to seeing women holding positions that were previously the sole preserve of men, and you could be forced to bite your lip and tolerate being patronized or ignored for the sake of maintaining a decent working relationship. Nowadays business becomes more and more global and as such, you may have to deal with people of different cultures and mindsets. But challenges like that are just that – challenges, not roadblocks. Facing and solving challenges is what business is about. Tarah Wheeler in her book does a great job to describe not only the challenges but also the solutions for a woman getting into such a male-dominated area of business as Tech.
Your Way of Life is Your Own Decision
While there are traditions and views towards roles of men and women in society and in the family, there are also thousands of years of humanity’s progress, to ensure that people have the freedom to choose who they want to be. There is nothing wrong with choosing your family over your career, just as there is nothing wrong with choosing the opposite. Over the course of history, hundreds of brave women gave their all to gift you the freedom to choose what to do with your life. And there are many more inspiring stories of women all around us. So regardless of how hard is your road, it is yours, but you’re not alone.