Despite the fact that women make up nearly half of the workforce, they still are severely underrepresented in leadership roles. In fact, women make up “only 14.6 percent of executive officers, 8.1 percent of top earners, and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs,” reports Forbes, which means working women have slim pickings when it comes to female role models in their careers. However, that doesn’t mean that women can’t feel empowered in their careers – it just means they have to learn to be the role models, themselves. Here’s how working women can become the change they want to see in the corporate world.
(Photo Credit: JD Hancock/Flickr)
1. Learn to Say “No” More
Women tend to be too agreeable and accommodating to others for the sake of keeping the peace or not hurting anyone’s feelings, especially in the workplace. They fear that disagreeing with someone or telling someone no will come off as them being bossy or a control freak, so they end up forgoing their wants and needs to accommodate those of others.
For instance, HBO’s Girls creator, writer, and star Lena Dunham declared that 2016 would be her year of saying “no” more. The 29-year-old, two-time Golden Globe award winner tells LinkedIn that “something miraculous happened” when she started being honest with herself and saying “no” more.
“People respond well to honesty, to reality. They understand,” she says. “And so with those no’s, YES sprung back up everywhere. Funny how that works.”
Treat yourself to some noes and see how your world and your career are transformed.
2. Be a Priority in Their Own Lives and Careers
One of the most empowering things a woman can do for herself and her career is learn to put herself first when necessary. Oftentimes, women (especially mothers) tend to put their wants and needs on the backburner to make room for the wants and needs of everyone else. What ends up happening is that these women find themselves burned out and stressed out because they’re underappreciated and underpaid for their efforts.
If you want to feel empowered as a woman, stop trying to please everyone and anyone else and, instead, start doing that for yourself. You deserve to be a priority in your own life and the lives of your friends, family, and colleagues. How are you supposed to take care of yourself, if you’re too busy focusing on taking care of everyone else? Do unto yourself as you do for others, because you won’t get anywhere in life if you’re constantly putting yourself last.
3. Surround Yourself With Supportive, Positive Women
Madeleine Albright said it best: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women.” Surround yourself with other tenacious women who aren’t afraid to support and encourage you as much as you do them. You’re probably familiar with the adage “birds of a feather flock together,” and the same goes for women trying to grow their careers and confidence.
Strong, confident women aren’t afraid to give other women compliments and reinforcement when the need arises, so be that woman to yourself and to others who deserve that type of support from you (but be careful not to over-extend yourself, as discussed above). If you’re surrounding yourself with insecure, petty, ne’er-do-well women who are jealous of every ounce of success someone else has, then how do you expect to receive the type of support and encouragement you need during the ups and downs of life? Surround yourself with women (and people) who celebrate your successes and encourage you throughout your journey.
Tell Us What You Think
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