For several decades, women have been held to unfair expectations where the workforce is concerned, and many businesses haven’t kept up with the times to include men in paid family leave or to give equal pay no matter what gender their employees are. Women are still battling to be taken seriously, to have their ideas heard, and to get promotions. It’s a hard world for many females, not least because many women have become familiar with the idea that it’s best not to rock the boat or “make a fuss” so as to appear easier to get along with. For this reason, it’s difficult for many women to find their voices at work.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to combat these issues; here are some of the best.

Come prepared

When you’re ready for a raise or promotion, go into the meeting with your boss as prepared as you can be. Make notes about your points and practice what you’ll say, and make sure you have proof to back up your claims. Some good examples are the amount of extra hours you put in on a recent project, the number of duties you’ve taken on that fall outside your job description, your attendance record, etc. Let them know how invaluable you are and don’t be afraid to play up your strengths.

Find your voice

It’s an issue that many women have said they have: being able to speak up at work. Whether it’s about an idea or the fact that they’ve faced gender discrimination, many women don’t want to appear “difficult” by speaking their minds. Don’t let this outdated notion get to you! Find your voice and let your boss know about your ideas, or ask to spend some time on a big project. You’ll never get anywhere if you expect others to offer you things.

It’s also important to let your boss know you appreciate being noticed. When he or she praises you or mentions that you did a good job, speak up! Say, “Thanks for noticing”, or something similar, and let them know you’re owning the work you put into it. If you can present ideas that will helps save them time or money on a project, they’ll certainly notice that!

Network

It’s important to network a little to stay on top of your business, so make a lunch date with someone who you might form a mutually beneficial friendship with outside of the office. It’s also important to get tight with the other women in your office. Rather than seeing them as competition, support one another. If there are older or more experienced women in your field, look to them as mentors and ask their advice before planning a major career move.

Learn to take criticism

Business isn’t personal, yet many women find it hard to separate the two. When it comes to criticism or feedback, learning to take it and spin it in a positive direction will ensure your coworkers and boss see you as a valuable asset to the company because you’ll show them that you have a level head. All too many women let the pressures (and sexism/discrimination) of work get them down to the point where they’re abusing substances to cope. Instead, cope by working hard and constantly improving your skills.

 

(This guest post is by Gloria Martinez from Womenled.org. If you would like to contibute an original article, just get in touch.)

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