When it comes to high-level executive positions, the number of women is severely lacking. Females account for just over half of the population in the United States, but comprise only 14.6% of executives, 8.1% of the county’s top earners, and 4.6% of the CEOs on the Fortune 500 list. You might be thinking, “maybe not that many women go into business, so the numbers could be proportional. However, women hold 60% of all master’s degrees ( 44% of all master’s in business/management, and 37% of all MBAs), comprise nearly half (47%) of the labor force, and make up 59% of entry-level workers who hold degrees. So why is there such a disconnect?
Women face a lot of pressure and obstacles in the rise to becoming an executive. Although it can be difficult to be a woman in charge, here are a few tips to help you succeed.
- Push yourself outside of your comfort level.
- Don’t ever let anyone say that the reason you didn’t succeed is that you didn’t try hard enough. Sure, it’s nerve-wracking to ask for a raise or to inquire about a promotion, but if you don’t push yourself to become more, you’ll end up stuck where you are. The same goes for business dealings. There will be risks that come along, and if you don’t jump at the chance to better your business, you can end up falling behind. Keep challenging yourself to see how much you can truly succeed
- Don’t let your personal life dictate your professional life (and vice versa).
- Your position as an executive and your status as a woman, wife, or mother are not mutually exclusive. You don’t have to stick to just one, and you don’t have to be defined in either capacity by your position in the other. Women may socially be expected to stay at home to raise and take care of the children, but this is 2017. If you’re a mother, you can be a breadwinner coparenting with a stay-at-home dad and you can use child care services. If you want to put your career first and don’t want to have a family, that’s perfectly fine as well. Live your life and pursue your dreams the way you want to.
- Get comfortable with being the only woman in the room.
- Female executives can often find themselves the only woman in a room full of men. It can be easy to let yourself become overshadowed and talked over, but you can’t let yourself get boxed out. It may take time to “prove yourself,” but the only person who can handle how you behave in the face of adversity is you. Believe in yourself, your knowledge, and your ability and unapologetically own the position that you’ve earned.