Here are therefore a few things to keep in mind, for women working in all-male teams:
Own your work and your space
Many women tend to hesitate or overthink what they bring to the table during team meetings and group discussions – because we have been conditioned to doubt ourselves.
Remember that you bring something unique to the table – that could be your thought process, eye for detail, certifications, domain knowledge, or your own individual lens to see things. No one understands and knows your ideas better than you, so it’s important to structure your ideas and present them during meetings. While all your ideas will not find validation at the table, that is not a reason to get disheartened – just by speaking up, you have created a niche for yourself. That’s plus one for you!
The 3 B’s – be prepared, be assertive, be confident
When you go for a meeting where you need to present, make sure to have all your facts and figures ready. While any new team member would have to be vigilant to establish themselves, this can be more relevant for women entering a new team. You have the knowledge and the skillset – all you need is to keep your data points handy to support your stance. As women, you are also paving the path for other women who may enter the team in the future; thus, it’s important to not just take your seat at the table but to make sure that you are assertive and confident in your thoughts, comments, and opinions. Slowly but surely, it will become a habit rather than a conscious choice.
Perfection is a myth – don’t be afraid of taking risks
In heavily male-dominated industries, the lone woman is almost treated as a curiosity – which also makes us hesitant to step outside the comfort zone or take risks. However, holding back also means that your potential for more responsibility will be missed. Don’t be afraid of taking up risky projects. This is how careers are built. Instead, make sure that any new initiatives you take are communicated well to your manager and team members – fully get them on board possible so that you can experiment.
Find your allies
Building connections and networking inside the organization is important for everyone – however, it is especially important for women to find allies at their workplace. Find like-minded individuals irrespective of gender, who can help you navigate through different team issues. By building your network you will undoubtedly find people who have been in the same place as you. With this, you can also work towards changing the culture of teams and support each other.
As more and more women come forward to take up jobs in spaces they have never occupied before, it becomes more important to make sure that the buck doesn’t stop at one woman member in the team. As the comfort factor goes up, so does the equality quotient and this can pave the way for many more women to come up and own workspaces and any opportunities that are given to them.