Interview with Jane – Advice for Women Working in Male Dominated Environments

posted November 4th, 2014 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment

I asked Jane whether she had any advice for women who are working in male dominated environments.


Jane says: “I would say work your hardest and make sure you’re doing your homework coming into meetings.  I’ve not run into it too often where there’s a male bias where they think that you’re not qualified or anything like that.  I would say work your hardest and if you decide to have children, or even if you’re not having children, keep your professional and personal lives separate.  A lot of times when people bring all their personal stuff into work it causes doubts in managers and they start second-guessing and wondering whether or not they’re going to be reliable.  Something I’ve always done is I’ve carved out my personal life from my professional life.  It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be friendly.  Definitely, in your professional life you can be friendly and have colleagues you consider good acquaintances and that sort of thing, but keeping it separate is important.


I asked Jane whether she thought there was still an Old Boys’ Club and if so how she dealt with it.


She says: “What you do is you create your own network and you become part of the Old Boys’ Club.  The Old Boys’ Club means that people want to be around other people that they’re comfortable with and back in the day that would be all boys but if you insert and inject yourself into those types of traditional networking environments you become part of the Old Boys’ Club.  I swim in the same circles as many of them because I’ve made a point of carving out some of my personal time to involve myself in professional organizations and that sort of thing.  They look at me as an equal, as a peer, and if an opportunity comes up they’ll just as likely call me as one of their old boy type people because I’ve just become part of that, I’m networked in. We need to look at ourselves as having to work harder at becoming part of that bigger professional community.”


I asked Jane whether she thought there was a girls’ network.


She says: “I definitely think there is.  I belong to a Chief Information Officer networking type of group and when they do a CIO women’s networking event it is like arm to arm, standing room only, the ladies come out in droves.  It’s because, in a technology environment there’s not a lot of women in senior positions and so women look at it as a great way to connect with other women who are facing similar challenges to them.  I definitely think that there is a girls’ club evolving and that women get a lot of support from those types of groups.  It’s good because we’re trying to help each other to navigate through some of these professions that may otherwise be fairly male-dominated and some women are more or less comfortable with that.  I’m kind of indifferent to it because of the fact that a lot of my colleagues were male as I was growing up in this industry.  I was indifferent to it but a lot of younger ladies that may be something that’s daunting or intimidating to them.”


What Strikes Me?

Work hard


Do your homework before coming to meetings


Keep your professional and personal lives separate


Create your own network


The Old Boys’ Club simply means that people want to be around other people that they’re comfortable with


Get involved in your professional association


Women need to work harder to become part of the bigger professional community


At women only networking events, women can connect with other women who are facing the same challenges as them


Women are beginning to help one another navigate through male dominated environments


What Strikes You?

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