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Finding Success In A Male-Dominated Field As A Woman

By News Creatives Authors , in Small Business , at August 17, 2021

Owner of Jacob Industries, LLC.

Being a woman in a male-dominated field has its challenges, but it has molded me into the confident leader I am today. The construction field is dominated by men and has been for years. I see few women in the office and even fewer on the job site — something I’ve found is often due to a misbelief that construction is “just a man’s career.” I have not seen many women pursue careers in the construction industry. And when you are the only woman in a new meeting with all men, it’s often hard to be heard. 

I knew when I first started my company that I was going to have to work harder to be recognized in this field. It was going to take a stronger voice and a stronger backbone for me than my male counterparts. I understood that, and I was OK with it because I knew I had what it took. Growing up with a father who owned his own construction company, I was never told I couldn’t do something. My brother learned how to drive the backhoe and loader; so did I. Run a job? That wasn’t just for my brother; my father put me in that position as well. 

Never was I told I couldn’t do something “because I was a girl.” It wasn’t even a thought. Instead, I was encouraged and applauded. But I knew it wasn’t the norm. When another subcontractor bypassed me looking for “whoever was in charge” and went to one of the men working for me, I wasn’t surprised. Instead, I laughed at the look on their faces when they were directed back to me.

As trite as it sounds, I love the saying, “Underestimate me. That’ll be fun.” I love proving not only that I can do something others think I can’t, but also proving that I can do it better than many of my male counterparts. How do I do it better? I believe that as a woman, we have advantages. Sometimes “doing it better” means listening to my intuition about a person or a job. Other times, “doing it better” means not being the loudest voice in the room just to hear yourself speak, but instead listening to what is being discussed in a job meeting, a business introduction or an employee review. Sometimes it means putting other women in positions of authority to grant them the same opportunities I had to make for myself so they, too, can find their path. 

There are certain things I remind myself of every morning in order to be as successful of a woman as I am in a male-dominated field: You must trust yourself and believe in what you are saying. As soon as you start doubting yourself, you lose your power. If you believe your idea is the best, stand behind your words — regardless of what others might question. Speak up when you want to, and don’t be afraid to be the odd one out.

Your opinion and your words matter, and do not let anyone take that power away from you. Refuse to be silenced, and speak your truth. In my experience, the more people see you are confident in your speech and, consequently, your environment, the more respect they will have toward you. Overall, believing in yourself and what you know is the key to being successful and respected in whatever situation you may be in.

Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?


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