How more women can make an impact in big business

In the modern working world, women are systematically discriminated against. From the gender pay gap and its consequent effects on economic empowerment to the way in which women often find themselves struggling with social expectations such as childcare. There are many problems which working women sadly face on an almost daily basis.

But there are ways to reduce the effects of such problems. And as the examples of many leading businesswomen show, there are plenty of women who have defied the odds and gone on to break into male-dominated industries of all kinds. This article will share some top tips for women who want to make this kind of progress in the business world – and explain what they need to do to make it to the top.

Study and work hard

In a sphere where men sometimes seem to be able to scale the heights of their career or other work without ever seeming to try, it can be galling for a woman who is having to go the extra mile in order to get ahead. But the first step for those who want to advance in their careers and get into a position of power in the workplace is to put the hours in. That begins early in life; in high school, for example, studying hard early on can lead to the sort of results that can help you to secure a position at a good college, which can, in turn, lead to you getting onto a coveted scheme at an investment bank or a law firm.

And it also means that you’ll have a good work ethic once when get a role and move into it. Sometimes, you may find that you need to be more visible at work than your colleagues. By always turning up on time, for example, you’ll prove to management that you’re dependable no matter what your gender might be – and that you are, in fact, better than some of the men! And when it comes to working on your daily tasks, ensuring that you provide attention to detail on every occasion will mean that when it comes round to performance review time you’ll be seen in a good light by your boss, being recognized as a star performer who cannot be taken for granted.

Look for role models

In a dog eat dog environment, making yourself vulnerable by asking for help can sometimes seem counterintuitive – especially if you’re in a position where you need to fight for every position you possibly can, however, that doesn’t mean that you can’t try to find some positive role models who can help you advance. Role models can be found in a whole host of locations, including networking events and even over workplace social networking sites such as LinkedIn. And even just reading about women in business can be a game changer. While you may not ever meet inspirational businesswomen including Sheryl Sandberg or Lady Barbara Judge, you can read about their stories online and derive knowledge about their success stories that could prove to be of real benefit.

Be honest about your needs

At the end of the day, it’s not guaranteed that you will be able to make a change you need without involving your employer. Ideally, you’d be able to turn up to work with all of your personal challenges solved – but that’s not always realistic. If you’re a strong candidate who has a lot to offer a large organization, all but the most unwise employers will be willing to make some changes to ensure you can work hard and do your best.

In order to have a conversation with your boss about what you need in order to advance and ensure that you’re in a position to do well, first sit down and write out all of the hurdles you face. Then list some possible solutions. If you’re having problems with getting that last piece of the childcare puzzle to fall into place one day a week, for example, you might want to ask your employer if you can work the same number of hours but condense them into four days rather than five. Or if the issue is something very serious such as sexual harassment in the workplace, it’s important to ensure that you’re well-versed in your rights and then to demand a thorough investigation by management.

Being a woman in the workplace can pose extra challenges, especially in a traditionally male-dominated environment such as big business. With the gender pay gapin the US showing that women have earned 85% of what men have earned in recent years, it’s now more important than ever that everyone steps up to the plate. And for women who are looking for ways to do that, strategies such as working hard, searching for role models and being upfront with employers about what you need are all positives.