From a woman who has learnt the lessons herself, we share tips for finding confidence and power when working in male-dominated environments
Being a woman working in male-dominated environments can be challenging, as Gemma Gratton knows all-to-well, having spent 17 years in the construction industry. Here, she shares her tips for how to thrive:
1. Be yourself
As I climbed the ranks in my construction career, I had always been myself: a hands-on kinda gal, with an ‘all-in’ attitude. But when I reached a higher management level, I noticed a change in my approach and a degree of intimidation in regards to performance pressures. This was a mixture of my own insecurities and being the only woman, aside from our HR Manager, in the whole company group. I had to have a serious reality check of who I was, with how and why I got there.
Eliminating the value of a ‘job title’ is of the utmost importance when working in such an environment. Everyone is a human being, and we speak and treat people how we wish to be spoken to and treated to ourselves. Your actions speak louder than unauthentic conversations to ‘fit in’, and do not shy away from giving constructive feedback if a comment or situation has made you feel uncomfortable.
The most fundamental value a woman can own, working in any career, is self-belief. If you don’t believe in yourself, then how can you expect others to do the same? Stop comparing yourself to others. When you believe in yourself, it oozes from your core as you're in the driving seat to your own success.
3. Hold your own
Working in construction was a masculine environment, as you can imagine. Being a female senior manager came with its own issues in various circumstances. There were times when my competence was challenged, which left me feeling disempowered, and as though I had to prove myself – when I didn't.
Knowing your worth is the most empowering value a woman can take ownership of, for us women should have no need to prove anything to anyone, but instead to be the best version of ourselves that we can be.
4. Don’t take things home with you
It’s inevitable that comments may be made that could play havoc on our minds. It takes time to understand that we should lose sleep over the comments, banter or, even light slander that happens at work. I am guilty of such exercise, and it took me a while to come around to the processes of calling out what offended me, whilst dismissing the small talk that had no relevance to me, or my life.
5. Let your personality shine
We all know that when we look good, we feel good. The feeling of confidence comes hand-in-hand with this feeling. So my advice would to always feel comfortable with how you look, you don’t want your mind wandering, or to be concerned about something taking you off track from your power.
I had this is in mind when I developed The Bee Thrive, a collection of timeless, defiant yet decorous, ethical clothing that will have you standing out, whilst feeling confident and comfortable when absolutely bossing your way through life.