Sometimes it feels like they don’t want us to succeed. You know what I mean?
Sadly, we live in a world where women have to work twice as hard as men to prove their worth and where we’re also expected to be devoted mothers.
We’re told we can do anything and that we’re equal to men, but what are the brutal truths about being a successful woman in a man’s world?
Let’s take a look:
1) We don’t get equal pay
Does this come as a surprise to you?
If so, then I don’t know what planet you’ve been living on.
Yes, it’s 2023 and there’s still a gender-based pay gap.
So many reasons:
- First of all, even in this day and age, certain jobs are mostly done by women, while others are done by men. And guess what – women tend to work in the lower-paying fields. For example, most cashiers you see in stores are women.
- Even when men and women work in the same field, women get paid less than men for doing the same job because of sexism and bias.
- Discrimination when it comes to hiring.
- Lack of transparency – many employers don’t share information about salaries or leave much room for negotiation
- Childcare: Because of the lack of affordable childcare and the expectation of society for women to be caregivers, it’s difficult for women to juggle being mothers with a full-time high paying job.
2) When we’re assertive we’re called “aggressive”
Why is it that when a man is assertive, he’s applauded and called “leadership material”, but when a woman is assertive she’s labeled “aggressive”?
Pretty unfair, don’t you think?
3) We have to work twice as hard as men to prove ourselves
So, even when we leave our kids to be raised by nannies or forgo motherhood altogether to have a career, we still have to keep proving ourselves.
It’s not enough that we got the job or have shown everyone that we’re capable and hardworking, oh no.
We have to work twice as hard – evenings, weekends, holidays – as the men to prove ourselves.
And the worst part?
Not only do we have to prove ourselves to men, but to other women too. Women who are happy to accept the outdated gender roles they have been assigned!
4) And we still get passed over for promotions
Yup. After all that hard work, they’ll still pick Bob for that promotion.
It doesn’t matter that he’s always late to work, takes long lunch breaks, or makes less money for the company than you do. He plays golf with the big guy. Heck, he probably found out about his promotion during a game of golf.
And what do you get?
A pat on the back. Well done you!
5) We’re judged by our appearance
It’s not enough for us to be clean, brush our hair, and wear suitable clothing for the job. Nope.
We’re also expected to wear make-up and make an effort to look pretty.
Oh, and they just love it when we smile! If we don’t feel like there’s anything in particular to smile about, we’re labeled as being “cold bi***es”.
I swear if I have to hear, “Smile, you’re so much prettier when you smile” one more time!
6) We’re subject to inappropriate comments and behavior
The whole “me too” movement might have scared some men and depending on the part of the world you find yourself in, you may get less inappropriate comments and behavior.
But that doesn’t mean that they’re gone. They’re still very much something that we have to deal with all the time.
7) We face double standards when it comes to the work-family balance
If we choose to be mothers, then we’re expected to sacrifice our careers to spend quality time with our children, or to give up on our careers altogether. After all, once you have a child, why would you want a career?
And when we decide to have a career and get a nanny, then we’re judged by everyone as being bad mothers.
But what about men? Why can they be dads and have a career? Why aren’t they expected to stay home and raise the kids?
8) We get criticized more harshly for our mistakes
Our achievements will often get overlooked, but our mistakes will never be forgotten.
When a guy makes a mistake, he might get a small reprimand.
But when a woman makes that same mistake – it goes down in history and she’ll never hear the end of it. It’s like it erases all the amazing stuff she’s achieved before the mistake.
9) We have to fight to have our ideas taken seriously
This is soooo annoying.
I’m tired of sitting in a room full of middle-aged men getting shot down for every idea I pitch. They’re so delusional thinking that they know what young people want, they’ve no idea.
But listen to me? No way, what do I know?
10) We’re expected to conform to traditional gender roles
This is anything from the way we’re expected to dress to the way we’re expected to communicate.
We have to look good, speak softly, collaborate, get overlooked for promotions, and accept lower-paying jobs.
And guess who always ends up making the coffee?
11) We’re seen as a threat by our male co-workers
I don’t know what it is, but they really do see us as a threat.
I guess some men – whether they want to admit it or not – are old-fashioned and have dated ideas about where a woman’s place is.
Maybe they fear change and progress. Maybe they really believe that women are less qualified.
Whatever it is, I wish they’d get over it and grow a pair already.
12) We’re often ostracized by our male colleagues
Sometimes it feels like being the unpopular kid in school, eating lunch by yourself in the cafeteria.
- Ignore and exclude us: Both when it comes to important conversations and decision-making processes, and when it comes to meeting up for drinks after work.
- Undermine our ideas and expertise: Making us feel pretty damn small and insignificant.
- Engage in inappropriate behavior: An inappropriate comment here, an inappropriate gesture there – making us feel uncomfortable at work.
- Give us less desirable assignments: This gives us less of an opportunity to meet with clients and shine.
- Publicize our mistakes: As well as exaggerate them. If you make a mistake in such a toxic male-dominated environment, you’ll have a hard time recovering, I can tell you that.
What can I say? It’s a man’s world out there.
13) We have to deal with self-doubt and imposter syndrome
Unfortunately, sometimes, they get to us.
Ever heard of imposter syndrome? It’s as fun as it sounds.
We end up doubting our self-worth and our ability to do our jobs. We start to wonder if they’re right to treat us the way they do… maybe we’re just not as good…
14) We often end up having to sacrifice our social lives for our careers
When we have to do an assignment with a male colleague, who do you think gets talked into working overtime to meet the deadline? “You’re single, I have a family. You understand. Thanks, doll!”
Of course, I’m single and don’t have a family, I keep having to do both your work and mine!
Sadly, it’s all part of constantly having to prove ourselves.
15) We constantly have to fight against stereotypes and biases
As you can see, each day’s a battle. So what can you do?
- Advocate for yourself: Nobody else is going to do it for you. This means being assertive and proactive (and not submissive and passive like they expect you to be) and asking for opportunities, promotions, and raises.
- Demonstrate your strengths: You need to highlight your skills and accomplishments in order to demonstrate that you’re just as competent, qualified, and valuable to the organization as the men.
- Find allies: No more eating lunch alone in the cafeteria. No matter how bad it is, there must be colleagues you can get to be on your side.
- Be confident: Stand up straight and hold your head up high, that will show them!
- Network strategically: You need to build relationships with the right people – the leaders in the field in order to gain access to new opportunities.
- Don’t give up: The secret to success is perseverance in the face of adversity. Good luck!